The Government is establishing a national Future High Streets Forum, co-chaired by Alliance Boots health and beauty chief executive Alex Gourlay, to develop the work done by the Portas Pilots.

Gourlay will work alongside housing and local government minister Mark Prisk to advise the Portas Pilots and Town Teams on how to further boost ailing high streets.

Members of the forum will include representatives from John Lewis, the British Retail Consortium, the British Property Federation, the British Council of Shopping Centres, the Association of Town & City Management and the Association of Convenience Stores.

The forum will bring figures in the retail, property and business sectors together to better understand the challenges high streets are facing, as well as to drive through new ideas.

Gourlay said: “High streets are vital for the health of our communities, providing services and support that are accessible and within easy walking distance for many people.

“From speaking to our customers, we know that the survival of the high street is very important to them.”

High streets have been struggling as consumer spending has declined and the popularity of online shopping has surged. The Government has been working to boost high streets with the 27 Portas Pilots and 330 Town Teams across the country, for which the forum will act as an adviser going forward.

The forum will also advise the Government on the challenges facing the high street and help develop policies to enable town centres to adapt and change.

Prisk said: “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 plans to tackle issues such as parking, making it easier for vacant spaces to be used as pop-up shops and reinforcing town centre first planning rules.