What do we really want from our high street?

Empty-Shops A lot has been made of the death of the high street, but what do people actually want on their doorsteps? Betting shops and closed branches of Semi-Chem? Starbucks and H&M? Mulberry and Ralph Lauren?

Well, the answer is surprisingly quaint – we want a POST OFFICE, alongside independent convenience stores and specialist food shops. Basically, a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, a coffee shop and somewhere to post a letter. Oh, and a couple of banks. [No pubs? -Ed.] Not much to ask, is it?

That’s according to a new report by The Association of Convenience Stores, who asked consumer, retailers and councillors what they wanted to see on their high street.

The shops we definitely don’t want more of are betting shops, charity shops, takeaways and pawnbrokers.

ACS Chief Exec James Lowman said: ‘The tendency of consumers to want more independent stores and specialist food shops shows that they want to shop in places which have a unique local atmosphere and aren’t just part of a clone town full of national chains.’

But aren’t we being a little bit nostalgic? Our shopping habits aren’t exactly like an episode of Camberwick Green - when did you last go a butcher?

Still, it seems like the old-fashioned idea of the high street still endures even in the modern world. And it really would be great to not have to walk 3 miles to find a post office.


  • jim
    in my town (lovely slough) you now cant buy any music, film or book. Well, smiths is the only place that does them now - meh what a joke but you can buy a chicken burger from one of the many chicken burger shops. there are at least 20 oh and items for less than a pound in one fo our many poundland type shops. oh an Polish sausages - cos they sell real well high street is deeeeeead
  • Dan
    I want exactly what is available from the Gloucester Road in Bristol. A mixture of post offices, banks, independent traders, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops all within walking distance of a large number of homes. It is a thriving local economy with quality and prices to suit most pockets. What makes it really special is that it isn't just a bland, engineered, retail environment but a community that meets socially on the street.
  • Gordon P.
    Keeping our " high streets " vibrant, litter free , with a diverse range of good shops is indeed a challenge. I chair Clarkston Business Improvement District in Glasgow and there are just so many problems to deal with. Funnily enough the Mrs. Brown Boys film shortly to be released focuses on this issue within a Dublin Street they want to demolish to build a heartless shopping mall that only the multiple stores will be able to afford to rent. Parking-Footfall-Affordable Rent-Affordable Rates-Diversity of Shops are the major issues and some areas are able to survive better than others. Clarkston is just managing to cope and doing nothing to improve our situation is simply not an option.

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