Across the UK one High Street shop in every 10, or one in every 7, depending on which survey you read, is empty.

This is attributed to high property prices and an increase in online shopping – up 14.9 % this year from last year in the UK (interestingly, surveys say that men are more likely to shop online than women, and that the most popular items to buy online are clothing, books and home electronic equipment.)

A report from town planners makes the following recommendations:

  1. We have what’s called a Community Focused Entrepreneurial High Street, the strengths of which are: good sense of community spirit; good engagement in community events; diverse retail for different budgets; good partnership working; a high street that caters specifically for the budget and taste of local residents. The weaknesses are: low spend per visitor ratio; higher number of betting and charity shops; vacant retail units that linger for months; subdued business confidence; adverse perception of crime and safety issues.  (Taken from ‘Successful town centres’: Association of Town & City Management)
  2. Have a strategic approach
  3. Don’t just think about daytime: in today’s 24 hour economy, you need to think about evening and night-time use too
  4. Highlight the unique characteristics of your town.
  5. Examples given of regeneration include:
    – A new transport system to bring visitors to the town
    – A wave of artists transformed one town
    – Making it a Festival town (books, films, arts)
    – Outdoor markets
    – Tourism gateway

So what do you think?