Speaking at an Association of Town Centre Management conference today, Professor Hague argued that town centres need good quality planning and design if they are to prosper.
'How we live and where we live are matters that need to come to the forefront of national political debate. To save town centres we need to save the towns and cities themselves.
'Regeneration and good public transport are important, but our town centres also need a planning and design strategy that ensures they have mixed land uses, are accessible to all groups of the population and put a high priority on the quality of the public realm.'
These would include urban design frameworks that emphasised the role and identity of the centre. Such frameworks should then be an agreed basis between central and local government for focusing infrastructure and investment.
'The design competition in Manchester, for instance, has given a new sense of dynamism to the city centre. Let us build on and transfer that experience to other towns and cities.'