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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.

BunFagFreddie Mon 14-Jan-13 09:25:58

"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. "

Do we live in the same place elizaregina?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-Jan-13 09:26:33

People did see this coming.

We just didn't care enough. People will always think will their wallets unless they are well off enough not to notice how much they are spending on groceries.

elizaregina Mon 14-Jan-13 09:30:48

yes but to have a thriving high street you dont nessacarily need groceries...altough it would have been lovely to retain them.

i know of an amazing high street just outside a pretty town up north that has a game buthcer - a fish monger - a normal butcher - several grocery shops - attractvive - some nice independant shops thrown in - as well as pharmacies banks etc...its like something out of harry potter - its wonderful,....prices are average and its very busy.

elizaregina Mon 14-Jan-13 09:31:33

bunfag - maybe! BUt sadly lots of places seem to be like this.

Renniehorta Mon 14-Jan-13 09:31:34

*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..

This describes where I live exactly. The town centre took a dip in 2008/9 but since then has bounced back. There has been plenty of closures and opening of shops but the high street is usually packed.

There is a thriving weekly market which attracts people into to the town, but also people enjoy the attractive surroundings and range of independent shops. I certainly used to come shopping here before I moved here. There is also a large number of restaurants and cafes, a theatre and an arts centre. So there is much more to our high street/ town centre than just shopping.

The vitality of the high street is very much part of the attration of living here.

YouOldSlag Mon 14-Jan-13 09:33:49

My hometown is thriving, but then there is plentiful free parking, regular buses, eating places, litter bins, and flower beds. The neighbouring larger town, however, has died on its arse due to parking charges, high rates, empty shop fronts, big chains going out of town, and a general air of seediness.

It is down to councils to take a hit in order to increase the local economy. Greedy councils are afraid to provide reduced rates, increase bus routes or provide free parking, yet when they do, town centres can really thrive and make money again.

TheFallenNinja Mon 14-Jan-13 09:38:33

YANBU. The high street is going to die as people don't want to buy stuff then lug it for miles to the car park. It's simple logistics. On the retail park your large items go from the store straight to the car and your away.

This is what killed Woolies

elizaregina Mon 14-Jan-13 09:38:37

our council is notioursly greedy - thier taste is also highly owners are always in our local paper moaning about business rates and they have tried to introduece a new way of parking that has fallen flat on its arse.

and we have an unbeliveble mass of office building going on - that then sit empty with to let signs for years.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-Jan-13 09:39:10

I think what these thriving towns have in common is that they have in charge of them people with imagination and vision, who take the long term view rather than the grabbing-the-cash-while-they-can view.

It is down to councils to take a hit in order to increase the local economy. Greedy councils are afraid to provide reduced rates, increase bus routes or provide free parking, yet when they do, town centres can really thrive and make money again.

Exactly that. And if it so obvious to us and people like us, why is it so hard for them to see? <baffled>

BunFagFreddie Mon 14-Jan-13 09:41:23

They've been making an effort with the grotty town near me. I don't think hanging baskets and new bicycle racks are going to cut it though.

The employment situation is also grim. The council keeps planning a new development to get businesses and jobs back there. Unfortunately, every time this happens the local eco warriors (middle class doo gooders, with more money than sense) start hoiking their bosoms and complaining. But, they don't actually like the town and wouldn't be seen dead there, because they might catch 'working class'.

A species of rare bat, or some obscure beetle is always found, so it puts things on hold. hmm

This is what smaller towns are up against.

OwlLady Mon 14-Jan-13 09:42:39

the council needs to stop charging for short stay parking in these towns, imo

my closest large town is depressing in the extreme

freddiefrog Mon 14-Jan-13 09:43:50


When we moved here 10 years ago our nearest town centre was lovely. Lots of small independent shops, butchers, a bakers, independent clothes and shoe shops. It was a really lovely mix.

Over the years more and more shops have gone and we're left with New Look, Next, H&M, millions of charity shops, loads of chain coffee shops, several £1 shops and an awful lot of empty shops.

We don't have a retail park here and no really massive supermarkets - a Sainsbury's but it's fairly small and a Tesco miles away so I don't think they can be blamed.

Here, I think it's a combination of extortionate parking charges, extortionate public transport costs and Internet shopping.

Going into town is expensive before you even set foot in a shop so people are put off going. So many shops have gone, no one really bothers

It's become a bit of a viscous circle - the more people are put off using the high street, the less and less shops there are, which discourages people going into town, which means we lose even more shops. Town is dead so chains don't want to come here, independents struggle and close quickly so it's dying a slow death

I do 99% of my shopping online, the rare occasions I've gone into town, I've not been able to get what I want so end up online again anyway

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-Jan-13 09:44:41

I don't think hanging baskets and new bicycle racks are going to cut it though.

No I agree. These things make a town look cared about though, which is the start of the battle.

CMOTDibbler Mon 14-Jan-13 09:51:34

I live in a very small town, but it is thriving - we have bakers, deli, fish shop, butchers, greengrocers, cafes and lots of other indie shops. We have good parking, and it starts at 50p for 1/2 an hour, but there is a block of free parking right in the middle of town that people use for popping in.
We also have a 3 day a week indoor market that is brilliant

elizaregina Mon 14-Jan-13 09:56:26

the frustrating thing for me is - I am quite sure with some re jigging a little bit of expenditure and large vats of paint - some carpenters - I could make our town look really nice !

LtEveDallas Mon 14-Jan-13 10:10:53

I was pissed off atraight after Christmas that the only shoe shop in town has now gone. There is now no reason for me to go to town, except maybe to Argos.

We lost Adams, and then the independant kids clothing shop. If I had a specific need (like school shoes for the New Year, or clothes for DD) then I could go to town and would browse the other shops - generally coming home with something.

Now if I want anything for DD I have to drive 20 / 40 or 45 minutes to the next biggest towns, so I may as well go to the Tescos Extra or Asda Wallmart and do everything in one shop.

It sucks, but I honestly cannot see a way around it.

TameGaloot Mon 14-Jan-13 10:29:38

Our town seems to be doing well. In fact we have recently had another butcher open. On one road there is a post office, a solicitors, butcher, a fishmonger, several decent gift type shops, a health food/herbal place, another butcher, an optician, a green grocer/grocer, a baker and a charity shop. Seems a good balance to me. That's not even the Main Street

Ours is OK too, more empty units than there used to be but still have two butchers, two greengrocers, independent hardware, sweet shop, toy shop, various arty crafty ones. It's not a particularly "naice" town but it isn't deprived either, again I think the reason is that it is a good 20 min drive to the next big town and poor public transport so people still use the high street regularly, I still shop there at least once a week despite working in the big town, because it is easy and right on my door step. Also no retail park here.

TheDuchessOfEarl Mon 14-Jan-13 10:35:56

We've generally got quite a good high street here - great butchers, green grocers, bakers etc. But we also have too many charity shops (and I say this as someone who loves a rummage), loads of hairdressers & more estate agents than we know what to do with.

One of the biggest problems I can see is that we have loads of lovely little vanity shops - craft shops, antique shops (and until recently a specialist dog food shop - yes really!) and these are lovely to visit and bring people into the area. But, day to day shopping is actually quite hard meaning we have to go to the small Co-op, Tesco Express or Sainsbury's Local (which are literally within 3mins of each other).

It's all well & good having nice independent stores but they must serve the people of the town or they're a waste of space.

Great service from our independents though. Last year I was in our local toy shop during a blizzard and the owners suggested I might want to stay and have a coffee until the snow eased. I bet you don't get that in ToysRUs

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-Jan-13 10:41:34

Can I ask where these towns which are doing well are located? Roughly. Would be interested to find out....

TheSecondComing Mon 14-Jan-13 10:44:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

elizaregina Mon 14-Jan-13 10:45:08


Becasue you have good foot fall I wonder if grocers and the like now opened if they also wouldnt do well...

I would LOVE a proper butchers near me....

CMOTDibbler Mon 14-Jan-13 10:46:48

My town is Worcestershire - and similarly to others mentioned, its a decent drive to other places to shop, so people do their regular shopping here, and as a very small town everything is together, and the whole town is in walking distance of the shops. And friendly, so they cater well for the elderly and those with small children

TameGaloot Mon 14-Jan-13 10:47:05

N norfolk for mine

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-Jan-13 10:48:29

I'm also wondering where (roughly) TheSecondComing's town is.

Sounds as though the local authority is shit with a capital SH.

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