I visited a town centre that I had never been to before. It was a Saturday afternoon so you could reasonably expect it to be busy. But, it was raining so whilst not quite empty, it was most definitely not busy. i hasten to add that the town centre in question is not this picture, although Gosport is suffering the symptoms to a lesser degree than the place I visited today.
What are those symptoms?
- Closed and empty shops (more than you might reasonably expect)
- More shops of a particular type
- More “non-shop” services
- Shops whose frontages are dilapidated or poorly maintained
- Lower footfall than might be expected
- Local major loss of industry
- Other factors not considered here
Today’s high street just had a very sad feeling about it. It has had a lot of good shops in the past. There was just a lack of something about the location.
I think this begs the question is the high street of the twentieth century in its final throes? If that is the case, what will it be replaced by? Is there scope to change the role of the high street? If so, to what? Re-role commercial units to residential? More social activities? I don’t know. But I do know that the state of the high street (generically) is not good. I don’t know what to do about it. Do you?