Could your High Street be saved?

Today the government are announcing yet another initiative to "Save” our High Streets.
This morning John Lewis reported yet another decline in like for like sales.
On the bright side, Greggs the Bakers announced a near 10% increase.

So what is the future of your High Street ?


My high street is a shopping centre and I live in a Scottish new town… so hopefully it gets burned to the ground :joy:

I cant see it recovering to be honest, there are a few retail parks nearby which cover most needs and there are a couple of massive shopping centres within a 30min drive which have a much higher quality selection of shops. There just isn’t much need to go in to the town centre.

You ‘save’ it by building leisure facility, cafes, restaurants, making it a place to go. There’s little reason to go there for any other reason… the occasional pint of milk isn’t going to sustain an entire street, and filling it with charity shops will only keep the lights on for so long.


add takeaways and mobile phone repair shops and you’ve described what my town centre is full of.

Even with the decline, the sheer amount of these shops makes me wonder how they manage to remain open :man_shrugging:

Do the council review shop applicants? If so can they decline an application due to there being “too many” similar businesses or is that not a thing?

I agree. But some I’ve seen pop up around me are far too expensive, and won’t draw in regular customers. So they end up closing.

Business Rates !
If they think you can pay them I suspect many Councils will nod through an application from a business, some might be viewed as totally inappropriate like a private club.

As a independent cobblers in West Yorkshire, my shop seems to be steady (surprisingly, as we have timpson round corner). The lure of shopping centres with free car parking(hint) and everything under one roof is the main problem. In Leeds we have a great mixture of shops but the city is so anti-motorist (as the government is too) that the average joe goes to white rose or meadow-hell centres!!

Yeah you’re probably right. If they have an empty shop I guess their thinking is that it’s better to get someone in it rather than leave it empty while waiting for an ideal candidate too. :slightly_frowning_face:

That’s probably on them not having done a proper research. I’m not surprised the high street shops are closing. I do prefer that all those clothing shops are in one centre rather than on the street.

Filling it with service establishments might be the key. Restaurants, cafes, or other interesting places where you’d like to go for few hours.

Absolutely this. It’s something that out of town shopping centres discovered a few years ago. Places to eat and things for people to do keep the lights on.

It would be a brave restaurant owner that would take space in an high street surrounded by lots of eating places.
Jamies, Byron and Giraffe tried it and in areas with large footfall.
There needs to be a recognition that "online”
shopping, which I dare say most people reading this are well practiced in, has caused the decline of retailing via shops and in my view is set to continue apace.
Cobblers, but just one, barbers and hair stylists, a few coffee shops and a few eating places, remember McDonalds, Burger King are likely already there. A couple of pubs and yes even a nail bar perhaps but after that there needs to be a draw, something to cause people to travel in.
Nights are entirely different. Clubs, pubs are the staple today but where I live they have caused very many older folk to eschew the town, never mind the High Street.

I quite like the idea of changing the use of much of the retail estate to residential of a type that is affordable to young people.
Although I am sorry to say that if that came to pass there may not be to many potential customers for the Cobbler :wink:


The nearest town to me is full of vape shops, phone shops, charity shops, betting shops and barbers.

Parking charges make it not worth me going there so I shop online or go to the out of town retail park with free parking nice shops. (including a greggs and poundland)

My local town was once one of the major centres of industry in the Midlands.
But in their pursuit of “modernisation”, the local authorities have bulldozed 99% of the heritage away.
We are now left with a soulless shopping centre and a few independent stores clinging on for survival.
My feeling is that if the history of the town had been allowed to survive, even if the high street declined, the town itself would have flourished as a tourist attraction, attracting more visitors and maybe giving the high street a chance.

Hard to know exactly how it would survive without someone paying the rates.
Beamish was created to do what you seem to wish for but a very different high Street surely.

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