AIBU to think that high streets and small towns will be thing of the past?

(310 Posts)
Lonelybunny Sun 13-Jan-13 21:36:28

Well now due to Jessops going broke and clintons and woolworths our town has hardly any shops left. It's so depressing down there, do you think the only shops left will be super stores, like asda and tesco? Maybe due to them selling everything and of course online shopping. I feel so bad for all the retail staff loosing jobs yet again.

BegoniaBampot Sun 13-Jan-13 21:39:14

Looks that way, all this online shopping definitely doesn't seem to be progress in this respect. Things change I guess, but it is quite sad.

Lonelybunny Sun 13-Jan-13 21:40:58

It is and I like to go out and look at things. Sometimes you buy online and it's not quite what you expected and you have all the faff of sending it back :-/

LostInWales Sun 13-Jan-13 21:45:15

We have a lovely little market town with a high street with shops and independent bakers and butchers etc, ok there are more charity shops than there used to be but it is still lovely. I suppose it helps that we are too far from the busy world that big chains never bothered with us really anyway. Some of the empty buildings have been bought by a community type group (local people bought shares and saved them from being sold to corporations) so now we have a lovely farmers market and some cheaper parking. Maybe from being pushed out to the edge this will creep back into the mainstream again, the gap left by these large corporations will be filled by quirkier, smaller retaliers?

mrsjay Sun 13-Jan-13 21:47:41

me and dh was speaking about this earlier there is nothing really in our town centre no shoe shops (except clarks) no this no that they have all closed, we have the usual primark Mn s etc it is quite depressing isn't it ,

TheSecondComing Sun 13-Jan-13 21:48:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

elizaregina Sun 13-Jan-13 21:49:38

depends on the town.....some towns are thriving - but they are attractive- well heeled etc...nice to visit in thier own right down to architecture etc..

bigbluebus Sun 13-Jan-13 22:17:21

Our local town is doing well - lots of small independent shops opening. Still only 2 Charity shops - which are the same 2 that have been there for the last 20 years. And it has a weekly market and thriving monthly farmers market Yes, shops have closed, but others have opened in their place - and we don't live in a 'well heeled' area.
I think the secret is, we are in a rural area, We are 15 miles from the next reasonable sized town and 20 miles from a large town - which incidentally is also seeing lots if independent shops doing well, and lots of nice coffee shops opening inspite of having the usual Costa, Starbucks and Cafe Nero.

Public transport is infrequent.Many people have cars, but there are many who don't Oh, and Tesco tried to open a large out of town store, the public fought it and won!!!!

Lonelybunny Mon 14-Jan-13 08:07:06

We have a market and farmers market but it never really seems that busy :-/ we have an m&s, Clarks, wilko's pond land and a small Sainsburys and now they are opening a co-op . But we have a large tesco about 5/6 miles away and an asda and retail parks! Can you believe I couldn't even get my daughter some baby vests in our town they didn't have her size ! It's just hopeless

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 08:11:12

Seems like whenever a shop shuts down in York, it gets replaced by Tesco Express.

Luckily we still have a lot of independent shops - and I'd like to believe some things can't be bought by online and people will still enjoy browsing, touching and trying on stuff.

catgirl1976 Mon 14-Jan-13 08:59:20

Our town still has lots of independents (and a Tesco Express, Clarks, Cafe Nero, Greggs in terms of chains) but there are more empty shops than their used to be and more charity shops. The really nice Deli has gone, as has the Greek restaurant and a florist.

The (slightly bigger) next town is doing worse and one of those "cash your gold" shops has opened up which I think is a real sign of how bad things are

YouOldSlag Mon 14-Jan-13 09:04:17

YANBU. What I find sad is that retail parks are booming but they have none of the atmosphere of a High Street.

All the good shops seem to be leaving the High Street and popping up three miles out of town with a giant car park. This also increases car use. Instead of ctahing a bus or walking to your nearest high Street, you now need a car to drive out of town.

I love High Streets- you can try on clothes, smell perfumes, listen to buskers, bump into people you know, sit on a bench.... out of town malls ain't the same.

BunFagFreddie Mon 14-Jan-13 09:08:59

The nearest small town to me is in a grim state. Vacant shops, pound shops and charity shops, although the butchers and green grocers are doing well.

As someone elsle pointed out, the naice little towns are ok, but this is a run down old mining town that is rather looked down upon by local people. There's actually nothing wrong with it and people are just being snobs, but it's just very grey and not as pretty as other places round here.

I think there needs to be some sort of drive to get the local economy going again in small towns. People moan abot people on benefits, but you can't have it all ways.

Lonelybunny Mon 14-Jan-13 09:09:26

Exactly, I actually don't go into my town much now as I find it boring and depressing !

StripeyBear Mon 14-Jan-13 09:09:34

YANBU - horrible huge retail parks are the massive fail of 1980s/1990s planning.

BunFagFreddie Mon 14-Jan-13 09:10:09

Car parking is another problem. The local council have abolished the free parking in this small town, so people are less likely to visit the shops there.

echt Mon 14-Jan-13 09:11:25

YANBU, and I noticed this when I left the UK 6 years ago, and it has become more pronounced.

A very nice aspect of Australian life is the the number and variety of independent traders on suburban shopping strips. Of the 50+shops at my local centre, bar the banks, only 2 shops are part of a chain. Of course there a gazillion coffee shops/cafes, but then this is Melbourne.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-Jan-13 09:12:52

Until town teams and chambers of commerce, crucially with the support of councils and government, can do something meaningful, YANBU. High rates + high taxation + high parking charges = dead town centres. And that's not even taking into account the internet and out of town shopping centres.

ANd don't get me started on charity shops which pay greatly reduced rates if any. They are supposed to sell second hand stuff, whereas places like RNLI shops are selling new things, thereby competing unfairly with "normal" shops. If you see a high street full of charity shops, you know its on a downward spiral.

People still want to shop in town centres. But in these hard times, if they are being charged £7 a time to park (a figure quoted on another thread yesterday), why will they?

milf90 Mon 14-Jan-13 09:15:55

I think electrical, book, DVD shops etc will all go as you can usually get cheaper offline and you know what to expect.

I think clothes shops will take longer to go (if they go at all) because people like/need to try stuff on to see why suits them - plus what else are you goin to do as a teenage girl at the weekends ;)

Lonelybunny Mon 14-Jan-13 09:16:39

We are charged £1.30 for an hour parking. Believe me you won't be there an hour there is nothing there to do !

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-Jan-13 09:16:39

Sorry that first sentence ought to have been "Until town teams and chambers of commerce, crucially with the support of councils and government, are prepared do something meaningful....

e.g. cutting down parking charges to a minimum or nothing.
organising initiatives to make town centres look more appealing e.g. picking up dog crap and litter, organising hanging baskets, doing something about anti-social behaviour.
Town centres need to be made places where people want to be.

Jins Mon 14-Jan-13 09:20:41

High streets won't be a thing of the past but they will inevitably change.

I can't bear the current high streets with the predictable M&S, Topshop, Body Shop, WHS, Boots etc. I can get all that online or by going out of town. I am one of those people who have stopped High Street shopping because you could be anywhere. On holiday recently we stayed in a small town that was doing very nicely with a wide range of independents who had taken over the JJB, Clintons units. Fantastic and very busy kitchenware shop, better by far than Lakeland, loads of bakers and butchers, independent pharmacies etc. It was fabulous. When I compare that to my High Street with endless phone shops, Boots and M&S I know where I'd rather be.

If Local Councils manage to get it together to make units available at reasonable cost and encourage schemes to attract people to the High Street (parking etc) then I think High Streets have the potential to return to what they should be.

elizaregina Mon 14-Jan-13 09:23:04

also where we are there is a grotty ugly town - with v difficult parking, no great shops - loads of charity shops and its surrounded by beautful attractive old towns. the council seem to make one mistake after another re the town allwoing these huge plastic amercian type things go up, and they are plain ugly.

Alot of the shops front have been ruined by allowing plastic facing at the front......I was horrified when I went to an attracitve smaller town near me and saw a HUGE NASTY plastic frontage - on a classic moslty wooden street screaming AGE CONCERN!!!! It stands out like a sore thumb.

Now Age Concern should be made to keep thier frontage in line with that of the bloody street....if every shop on that street did what age concern did - you are on your way to uglifying that pretty little street too - and detroying that!

Pilfette Mon 14-Jan-13 09:23:06

We're up to, I think, 4 Tesco Express, as well as a Morrisons, Tescos 'proper' and a brand new Sainsburys. Our high street is just surviving, helped by being a seaside town that gets a fair amount of tourist trade in the summer. We just about have an independent fruit and veg shop even though the prices are extortionate and the usual Superdrug etc chain shops. What stunned me recently was the stock levels on most of the shop's shelves - there seems to be very little, I guess the days of carrying a lot of surplus stock are long gone? That said, a local coffee shop has recently opened and seems to be doing good business even though it's only 3 doors away from a Costa. That in itself gives me some cause to hope smile

Kahlua4me Mon 14-Jan-13 09:23:14

It does amaze me that nobody saw this coming, to be honest. When the retail parks and online shopping arrived everybody chose to be to them instead of their local town.

The local shops simply could not cope with the drop in footfall along with increasing rates from councils and that has led to empty shops and bleak towns.

I think all of us need to make a concerted effort to buy locally and eventually it will pick up again.

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