Revitalising “dying” town centres forms part of a major new county council plan to encourage more people to visit heritage sites across Bucks.

Yesterday (September 10) Bucks County Council’s (BCC) cabinet backed the new cultural strategy – which aims to provide a more holistic approach towards managing the numerous heritage and leisure sites in the area.

As well as encouraging more collaborative working between tourist attractions, plans aim to put culture “at the heart” of town centres.

County councillor for Beaconsfield, Anita Cranmer, hailed plans for “revitalising” town centres, as shops continue to disappear from high streets across the country.

She said: “When you talk about putting culture at the heart of town centres, I think it is excellent because we have dying town centres.

“What you will be doing is revitalising them in a different way, which is excellent and will focus upon all the history that people are perhaps unaware of and all the other cultural aspects.

“It will change the nature of the town and bring it back again as something different, something better.”

Council leader, Martin Tett, said many aspects of culture exist across the county, including art, history, architecture, however they all need “tying together”.

He also echoed Cllr Cranmer’s praise, adding the decline of the high street is “very depressing”, so any plans to improve town centres is “great news”.

Councillor John Chilver called for more focus on encouraging young people to engage with cultural, leisure and sports facilities, to help them develop lifelong interests.

However, executive director of communities, health and adult social care, Gill Quinton, said the council is also working on an education partnership which aims to help young people and schools get involved with cultural activities.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Tett aired concerns over the future of Bucks’ town centres, saying: “the reality is, if you want to restore the high streets to the 1950s and 60s you are going to fail.”

The leader added that department stores will continue to struggle unless they “learn to adapt with the online retail revolution” in order to compete with big names such as Amazon.

He said: “There are too many high streets with too many shop units for which there is not viable demand.

“I think what is going to happen is high streets are going to see a contraction, there will be less shopping units, probably more compact and probably with a different variety of offerings.

“[Department stores] really do have to learn how to adapt with the online retailing revolution that is taking place, and some of them have struggle with that.

“Some of them have been very slow to get into online retailing in a big way but I think we are going to see less and less of the big names on the high street.”

To view BCC’s cultural strategy visit