Mary Portas has been asked by the Government to take a look at our ailing high streets…. (about time too, i can hear you chorus) As she says, “the city centre picture is one of steep decline. Three years ago six per cent of high street shops were vacant; by the end of last year the figure had grown to 14 per cent. At this rate, in two years’ time, more than a third of city centre shops will be boarded up, But it’s not just the shops that are going from our high streets; banks and post offices are disappearing too. As they go, we lose a feeling of community because the high street is the heart of a town. And, as high streets empty, the crime rate increases.”
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, the question really is, what should we be doing ? Are the high streets worth saving, or are we just entering a new digital age and we all just need to move on and make space for the big retailers ….? What do you think we should do to revive the high street ? Or shouldn’t we bother, is it a case of change or die ?
Mary is asking for our opinions, and this is as good a time as any to add your comments into the pot – hopefully something good will come of it, maybe she’ll be able to persuade landlords that upward only rent reviews and quarterly rents payable in advance aren’t such a cool option…?
You can follow Mary’s quest on her website www.maryportas.com Here’s an extract from there to get you in the mood
In May this year, I was challenged by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to undertake an independent review on the Future of the High Street – to help ‘bring back the bustle’ to our town centres.
And with town centre vacany rates doubling over the last two years, the need to take action to save our high streets has never been starker.
I am calling on business, local authorities and shoppers to contribute their ideas on how we can halt this decline in its tracks and create town centres that we can all be proud of.
If you’ve got something to say about the state of our high streets – be it an observation, insight, initiative or idea – please add your own contribution to the debate.