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If you’re interested in our urban infrastructure, Julian Dobson is always worth a read. His latest post is a good summary of the challenges facing various initiatives to regenerate our high streets:
The real problem is that neither today’s announcement nor the NPPF address the underlying issue, which is that the high street is on a long term trajectory of change. The Genecon report, Understanding High Street Performance, made that crystal clear. If you don’t have time to read it, watch the news instead: a record number of vacant shops, and retailers continuing to struggle.
Hard not to agree with this part of it:
The core of our argument was that we need to begin by thinking of the high street as the social heart of a town or suburb, not just the commercial heart. We need to reclaim town centres for community activity, learning, leisure and living. Viable retail and economic uses can then cluster around activities that people want to engage in, and in places they want to go to. Our main shopping spend went out of town years ago, and is now going online.
My local high street is increasingly dominated by social eating places – and is all the better for it: