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Do we need to "Save the High Street"?

(70 Posts)
Agnesf Thu 21-Feb-19 09:07:50

If shopping habits have changed and there are too many shops, why not allow a managed contraction of town centres and reuse the empty shops for housing.

Agnesf Thu 21-Feb-19 09:27:48

I often hear stuff about saving the high street on the TV, making it a level playing field with online etc etc, but it seems like a lost cause to me.

In our local town centre, I'd get rid of the empty shops, have just the supermarket, pharmacy & a couple of others. Use some of the units for cafes, bars, GP surgery, dentist, hairdresser etc. Luckily we have a library which I would keep and expand its services with other community type stuff.
We have a market at weekends for variety.

Then all of the rest could be converted to flats and housing.

DGRossetti Thu 21-Feb-19 10:49:56

If shopping habits have changed and there are too many shops, why not allow a managed contraction of town centres and reuse the empty shops for housing.

You mean a sensible pragmatic evidence based approach ? Not really the way things are done in England. For a start, all the housebuilding companies would lobby against it - don't want any hint of more housing to threaten their profits do we ?

Agnesf Thu 21-Feb-19 13:02:43

Just heard a report on R4 about this. All the recommendations seem to be about changing tax structure to restore the balance between online and high street but is that really going to make a difference.

In my local high street all the shops close at 5pm. Not much use for working people unless you want to spend your weekend shopping there.

RiverTam Thu 21-Feb-19 13:16:56

Diesbtvthst depend in whether you think the only value the high street has is commercial? What about the social benefits of the high street? Do you not think those have value and are worth pursuing?

RiverTam Thu 21-Feb-19 13:17:28

God, I hate this phone!

DGRossetti Thu 21-Feb-19 13:20:44

All the recommendations seem to be about changing tax structure to restore the balance between online and high street but is that really going to make a difference.

There's a saying that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everuy problem looks like a nail ...

Maybe part of the issue is that the High Street simply can't be saved ? Imagine over 100 years ago a similar panic about the demise in horse-drawn transport as cars, buses and trams took over. No amount of taxing petrol would have ensured Britain was the only country in the world relying on horse-drawn carriages in the 1950s.

I'm going to suggest the society that the High Street formed an integral part of has gone. Forever.

Bearchild Thu 21-Feb-19 13:37:29

If they turned shops into housing where are, it would be luxury apartments that most families couldn't afford so would all be snatched up by wealthy people for a second home.

Agnesf Thu 21-Feb-19 14:13:18

Bearchild - why it would be luxury appartments & not suitable for families? Our town centre is pedestrianised - how about flats for families with a playground easily accesible? Or just turn old style shops back into houses? Or downsizing flats for elderly close to amenities.

After all public houses were once just that - houses accesible to the public.

RiverTam Thu 21-Feb-19 14:26:16

all the new housing round my way is pretty affordable, even if it's replacing council (or ex-council) blocks.

I just think we shouldn't be so keen to kiss goodbye to something that gets the lonely and disposed into contact with other people. I don't think it's a good idea to simply shrug and know that those people will remain isolated in their homes doing online shopping, even if they can do such a thing.

RiverTam Thu 21-Feb-19 14:26:34

dispossessed

DGRossetti Thu 21-Feb-19 14:30:42

Bearchild - why it would be luxury appartments & not suitable for families?

What makes the developer the most money ? (Alternatively, why are bungalows - in particular family ones) like hens teeth ?

DGRossetti Thu 21-Feb-19 14:34:16

I just think we shouldn't be so keen to kiss goodbye to something that gets the lonely and disposed into contact with other people.

But you can't force people to use the High Street. And it's not just about money. Don't tell Amazon this, but even if they were a little bit more expensive than a shop on the High Street, I would probably still use them as it suits my lifestyle better. Maybe I'm in a minority, but I'm certainly not unique.

Asta19 Thu 21-Feb-19 14:39:20

The problem for me is there's so little variety in shops. Go to most high streets and you have shops like Iceland, Argos, god knows how many £1 shops! It doesn't really make going shopping a "treat". I've been to a few places abroad where I've visited busy shopping areas, and they're busy because they are interesting.

BlackCatSleeping Thu 21-Feb-19 14:42:55

I do think it's nice to support local shops as they tend to do more for the community, such as sponsoring local sports teams, helping at schools, and supporting local artists. Companies like Amazon just don't care. All they care about is money and avoiding paying as much tax as possible. They treat their workers like shit. Our society is becoming more aged and for many elderly people a daily trip to the local shop is the only social interaction they will get that day.

I understand the convenience of online shopping, but it is sad that so many small independent shops are dying out.

ineedaknittedhat Thu 21-Feb-19 14:44:51

I'm autistic and find visiting the shops very stressful. The noise, bright lights, air fresheners and scented candles which give me a bad headache, pushy shop assistants who follow you around and talk at you all put me off visiting.

The high street is crap, let it die off. Use the space for other things.

SheWoreBlueVelvet Thu 21-Feb-19 14:49:00

I do think people like to have shops to buy stuff in and wander round.

However shops need to adapt. Really it needs the whole high street to open until 8pm. And parking is a real issue in my town. You can’t just pop in and pick something up. Car parks are very stressy round here, too tight, badly directed traffic big queues. Off putting.

TrendyNorthLondonTeen Thu 21-Feb-19 14:52:38

"why it would be luxury appartments & not suitable for families?"

£££££

DGRossetti Thu 21-Feb-19 14:56:03

I do think people like to have shops to buy stuff in and wander round.

If they sell what you want, yes. But how many do ?

case in hand is a decent (not the 3 I've returned after a weeks use) rotary hand whisk. Or a milk thermometer for frothing ? Nowhere to be seen in the high street in Halesowen. Bought 3 online for £5 inc P&P in seconds.

TheMarbleFaun Thu 21-Feb-19 15:14:11

Agree that the high street has to adapt & great customer service is the way to give b&m retail an advantage over online.
Having been in some shops recently it's almost as if they don't want paying customers (I'm looking at you TK Maxx)

DGRossetti Thu 21-Feb-19 15:16:45

Agree that the high street has to adapt & great customer service is the way to give b&m retail an advantage over online.

But returning to the point about horse-drawn transport I made earlier. How could it have "adapted" to avoid the development of motorised transport ?

TheMarbleFaun Thu 21-Feb-19 15:20:29

I don't get your comparison DGRosetti
Are you saying that online shopping is an evolution of high street shopping?

DGRossetti Thu 21-Feb-19 15:24:43

Are you saying that online shopping is an evolution of high street shopping?

Yes. Or at least, the next stage. High Streets aren't somehow mystical entities that existed before the rise of man and will endure beyond the end of days. They're a reflection of the society in which they evolved. That society has changed, and so has (and is) the High Street.

midsomermurderess Thu 21-Feb-19 15:36:04

Yes, but knitted hat, the question is what things?

FyiYolo Thu 21-Feb-19 15:50:32

I very seldom go into town to buy things now. I go for a coffee and look at the charity shops, that's it.

For clothes I go to a big out of town warehouse type thing, as I hate clothes shopping with a passion, so when I go, I want to try on ALL the skirts, not just the 2 spangly ones in my local shop.

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