NELSON’S high street will today be told that it must make radical changes if it is to pro-sper.

The Government’s Local Growth Minister will tell the 27 Portas Pilot towns, of which Nelson is one, that the high street can no longer live in the past, and needs to adapt to meet the changes in consumer behaviour over the past few years.

Nelson was one of the first 12 towns in the UK to be designated as a Portas Pilot, and last week received its first visit from the Queen of Shops herself, Mary Portas.

She was seeing where the £100,000 the town was given as part of the pilot scheme had been spent. During her visit she described the town as ‘beautiful’ and said there was hope for a prosperous future for Nelson.

Today minister Mark Prisk will launch a new national Future High Streets Forum of leaders from retail, property and business to better understand competition faced by town centres and build on the Portas Rev-iew.

The forum will advise on how to adapt to online shopping and the changing behaviour of consumers.

It will also investigate parking, how to make it easier for pop-up shops to use empty spaces and allowing commercial landlords to turn part of their building into residential property to bring more people into town centres.

Mr Prisk will say: “It is clear that our high streets will need to change to prosper. There is already great work being done across the country to revitalise the town centres but it needs to spread further, faster. The Future High Streets Forum will help us do that.

“The forum will bring business, councils, retailers and property experts to work together and back communities to rejuvenate our high streets.”