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A High Street should be for life, not just at Christmas?

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Mary Portas has now made her recommendations to bring the High Street back to life and the government will review these recommendations and publish their response in the Spring. Meanwhile, the recent news is that high street names are now leading the exodus to out-of town centres and it is likely to continue.

Judging from the number of shoppers flocking to the town centres over the last week or two, on a daily basis, there is clear evidence that the High Street is not dead yet.

So what is the attraction of out-of-town shopping centres? Generally, they are easy to access, have plenty of free parking and offer a broader range of shops than can be found in many High Streets. By contrast, the streets of many towns are already clogged by traffic, parking is inadequate and expensive; park and ride schemes have caught on in some towns but not others.

Many High Streets are not “purpose built” for shoppers in the same way as modern out-of-town centres and, short of extensive demolition and reconstruction they are never likely to compete on a “level playing field”.

I await the government’s response with interest. I would hesitate to pre-judge any proposals they will make but I feel they have a hefty uphill task ahead of them if they are to encourage shoppers back to the High Streets, not just at Christmas, but all year round or am I being pessimistic?

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