English Town Centres In Need Of Support

people walking on street
Photo by Krisztina Papp on Pexels.com

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:

  1. The growth of out of town shopping malls has detracted from the town centres.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Poem: ‘The Return’

photo of person walking near orange leafed trees
Photo by KIM DAE JEUNG on Pexels.com

She was sat
on the old porch, a piece
of me I’d left
behind
in some spring
long ago. I knew it
in an instant, as
soon as she looked up—
our minds dovetailing as if
nothing had happened
in those draining,
intervening years. A part
of me wanted
to leave,
to move on and deny
what my heart was insisting, but
the spark was still there,
some sweet, indefinable
thing.

She tapped
the space beside her and
I sat down
on the creaking pinewood. The air was
still,
a low September sun
buttering the track
in front of us
and the turning trees
all around us
and the pale skin
of her arms, her legs,
and that gentle,
dappled face.

“Do you remember
when we were spring?”

I nodded, watching
her lips break
into that dimpled smile. In
her eyes I saw again
the boats
and the blossom,
like promises, journeys
only taken in our minds

poem © copyright Francis Barker 2012

Milly Reynolds’ new book out soon on kindle

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This is the cover of Milly’s new book, ‘Death for Art’s Sake’, soon coming out on kindle, and later on smashwords.
Eighth book in the Mike Malone series, this time Mike finds himself drawn into a macabre murder, all in the name of art…!

image © copyright Milly Reynolds 2013