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Clare Hudson
Clare Hudson
  • 1 Minute Read
  • 14th June 2011

Are you proud of your Town Centre? published a recent report, indicating that only 49% of people are proud of their local town centre due to a mix of poor shop choices, expensive prices and shabby appearances.

As little as 6% of those surveyed feel loyal towards their local high street, with 41% claiming there is a poor choice of shops, and 29% who think prices are too high. Sadly, 25% said they are less proud of their town centre than they were in previous years.

Increasingly high rents have been a contributing factor to the problem, meaning local businesses have being forced to close, resulting in boarded up shops and/ or a mass of chain stores opening up. A whopping 69% said that their high street looked ‘shabby’, due to closed down and boarded up shops.

It’s also important to note the rise of the ‘clone town’ over the last decade. Many of our UK town centres simply look the same; many unidentifiable from the next chain store overloaded high street. In 2010, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) published a report stating that 4 in 10 of the UK’s towns have become identical.

Surely town centres must have a defining feature or a sense of character for residents to feel that sense of pride they once had. 19% of respondents said they would like to see more new independent shops and 14% said they would like to see the addition of a farmers’ market.

Ann Robinson, director of Consumer Poilicy at said "Consumers often blame the larger retailers for the lack of choice on our High Streets, but the reality is that very often it is only the draw of a larger store that is keeping some town centres alive.” However, was it the introduction of these large retailers in the first place that has resulted in unfair competition and the closure of independent stores?

Robinson went on to say that, "Britain's High Streets should be the lifeblood of the local community - instead they are dying on their feet. High rents, rates and the recession have forced many retailers off the High Street altogether, while preventing new independents or start-ups from taking their place.”

Despite negative findings, 97% of those surveyed said that they do care about their local town centre and want it to ‘thrive’. 67% of respondents said that they would welcome a government review and would love to see cleaner streets, more car parking spaces and a greater variety of shops and services.

Source: Less than half proud of their local high street

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