22 Oct Keep Our High Streets Alive
The future of our high streets
Recently we were walking up to our local high street to post a letter and cash a cheque. I noticed a growing number of vacant units with “To Let” boards up in the windows. Whilst there has always been availability of units with tenants coming and going, I believe that the number of vacant units could be growing along many high streets.
With the current Covid-19 crisis, adding more restaurants, bars and cafes to High Streets is likely not the solution. Although locally a vegetarian and vegan option would be very much welcome. With more essential shopping going online the future state of High Streets is very much up in the air. The pandemic has taught us all that we really do not know what is round the corner. It has also taught us being able to meet challenges that lie ahead while adapting to new ways of working are key.
Niche services that cannot be provided online like The Repair Shop. A show which very skilled craftspeople repair and reuse items to create and rejuvenate old furniture or items. It also doubles as an education centre. While watching the show, and wishing that I had even the smallest amount of skill as the people on the show, I wondered if it would work in my local community. This is just one example, but surely there will need to be some brave decisions made by landlords/tenants, local authorities and banks. They should all be working closely together to make some worthwhile changes happen.
We believe an element of flexibility and adaptability could potentially reinvigorate high streets. We also believe that local authorities will have to be more involved in local business to drive a more sustainable future. Services or concepts that don’t allow for complete online use will have to be offered to keep the High Streets alive. As people’s budgets are going to be increasingly squeezed isn’t it time to rethink what the High Street can achieve for local residents?