Town centres and high streets in England have been in decline for some time, yet action by local and central government has been slow, inconsistent and at times non-existent.
Now, at last, it would appear some concerted action is being organised.
What is puzzling is that is has been clear for some time that the odds are stacked against town centres. Three factors should have been recognised and addressed over a decade ago:
- The growth of out of town shopping malls has detracted from the town centres.
- The internet has discouraged people from visiting shops so often and certain shops have been slow to develop their own websites which could actually boost their trade if applied intelligently.
- Business rates are invariably too high.
Until the government seriously addresses all these issues, English town centres will continue to experience a slow decline and eventual death.
copyright Francis Barker 2019