A LEADING figure in the world of retail is to be main speaker at a North-East event focusing on the future of the high street.

Mark Robinson, who was born Hartlepool, chairs the Government-led High Street Task Force and is an expert in the development and regeneration of town centres across the country.

He will address an online audience of Darlington business and community representatives between 9.30am and 10.30am on Wednesday, October 20.

The free event entitled “Darlington On The Rise – The Evolution Of A High Street” has been organised by local commercial law firm, The Endeavour Partnership.

The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Cyndi Hughes, will also be a speaker, and the event will be compered by journalist Peter Barron.

Mr Robinson said: “Being born in Hartlepool and having been involved in projects in the North-East throughout my career, it’s an honour to be asked to speak to the Darlington Business Community. I’ll be sharing how the High Street Task Force is making a difference across the UK, sharing some inspirational stories, and answering questions.”

Councillor Hughes added: “I am absolutely delighted that Mark Robinson will be with us to share his insights and experiences as chair of the national High Street Task Force.

“Mark is also keen to hear how Darlington’s town centre is faring and which post-lockdown initiatives are having the greatest impact here. If you care about the future of the high street, this event is definitely for you.”

This is the second event in the “Darlington On The Rise” series, following an earlier talk by the Chief Executive of Legal and General, Dr Nigel Wilson, who grew up in Darlington.

Nigel Williams, Corporate Partner at The Endeavour Partnership, said: “We are thrilled to be part of this series of events, aimed at informing as well as provoking debate with the Darlington business and wider community.

“It’s a real coup to have someone like Mark Robinson to share his thoughts in the context of what is happening to our high streets.”

Over nearly three decades, Mr Robinson has worked in all aspects of retail: as an advisor, investor, developer and occupier. In 2008, he co-founded Ellandi, a business currently undertaking more than 30 projects across the UK with a value in excess of £1.5bn.

In 2019, he was made President of REVO, a leading membership body representing the interests of owners, occupiers, and local authorities in promoting thriving retail locations. He became chair of the High Street Task Force in July last year.