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Great Guy

Town High Streets

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I have to admit each town I visit seems to have more and more empty shops. Even the local city seems to have more and more empty shops.

I think the high street has had its day. It's so much easier buying stuff online where the choice is better, it's cheaper, no parking worries and no hassle.Local councils should really be dropping the rates bills etc to encourage business back in. As it is the only shops that will survive are charity shops and coffee shops.

 

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I wanted to buy a good size 3 football yesterday. I went into town, where there are four sports shops. Only sports direct had a size 3 and that was Sondico, which fall apart in days. The prices for branded footballs ranged from £15-£25. Amazon had a Mitre football in size 3 for £7.99 next day delivery.

I do find that whenever I want something, I can’t actually get it in town.

Edited by Hail the Tripod

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I live quite near Chelmsford, which seems to be the rare instance of a town bucking this trend. If I were a town council or a significant owner of retail property I would want to be taking a long, hard look at places like this in order to figure out how and why. There are no obvious answers. It was run down, parking is expensive and inconvenient (although plentiful), it can’t claim to be the only shopping option in the wider area (indeed, looking at the shithole Colchester has now become, being the only local big town seems largely irrelevant) etc etc. I would have though those with a vested interest would really want to understand this better.

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I think it's death by Amazon. My local high street is a mixture of chains and high end independents. There is a regular turnover of shops in the independent sector as they go bust over 12-18 months. I only use real shops if I know that they have a promotion on, our local cookware shop was discounting Le Creuset a few months ago - the item I wanted was £30 cheaper there than on Amazon so I made a specific visit to purchase, otherwise why go to the hassle when I can order online in a matter of seconds? There also seems to be a herd mentality. About a year ago a yoga wear shop opened up, 6 months later 2 more. We are a smallish market town, there isn't the demand for 3 yoga wear shops, the original one has stared stocking  other sports equipment but there is already a cheaper, more established shop that does general sports goods. As for the other 2 I predict the "for lease " signs will be going up within 12 months.

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1 minute ago, Dipsy said:

I think it's death by Amazon. My local high street is a mixture of chains and high end independents. There is a regular turnover of shops in the independent sector as they go bust over 12-18 months. I only use real shops if I know that they have a promotion on, our local cookware shop was discounting Le Creuset a few months ago - the item I wanted was £30 cheaper there than on Amazon so I made a specific visit to purchase, otherwise why go to the hassle when I can order online in a matter of seconds? There also seems to be a herd mentality. About a year ago a yoga wear shop opened up, 6 months later 2 more. We are a smallish market town, there isn't the demand for 3 yoga wear shops, the original one has stared stocking  other sports equipment but there is already a cheaper, more established shop that does general sports goods. As for the other 2 I predict the "for lease " signs will be going up within 12 months.

It’s also the out of town sheds and supermarkets 

my home town didn’t have an out of town supermarket. A large coop in the centre of town which served to draw shoppers in. 

There was a good number of butchers and greengrocers. Lots of independent shops. 

Then, Sainsbury’s opened up, about five years ago.  I use is as, because it is a tourist town, parking is very difficult in town. Sainsbury’s, I can always get parked. 

It has, however, sucked the lifeblood out of the town. Loads of tat shops, coffee shops and restaurants. 

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Totally agree with @Great Guy; it has had its day.

Town centres will become residential areas - McCarthy and Stone type pensioner flats mostly - and the number of actual shops will plummet until you are left with cafes, coffee shops, pubs and the odd convenience store to buy milk and a paper.

Food shops will be supermarket, either by delivery or by car to an out of town, and most non-food goods will be delivery.

It's not the "death" of town centres; it's their evolution into social / leisure / residential areas where people go to spend some pleasant time without feeling the need to buy some unnecessary tat.

The future of the high street sounds great tbh.  Just don't invest in town centre commercial property or high street retailers.

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2 minutes ago, One percent said:

It’s also the out of town sheds and supermarkets 

my home town didn’t have an out of town supermarket. A large coop in the centre of town which served to draw shoppers in. 

There was a good number of butchers and greengrocers. Lots of independent shops. 

Then, Sainsbury’s opened up, about five years ago.  I use is as, because it is a tourist town, parking is very difficult in town. Sainsbury’s, I can always get parked. 

It has, however, sucked the lifeblood out of the town. Loads of tat shops, coffee shops and restaurants. 

Yes, with the ease of parking out of town it's a no brainer to abandon the town. Our town does have a supermarket, a poky Morrisons which I hate going in, so I use Amazon Pantry which is Morrisions stuff, get all my non perishables delivered to work, combined with a veg and meat box that also gets delivered I haven't had to do a large supermarket shop for months - just pick up a few bits and pieces every couple of days.

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14 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Totally agree with @Great Guy; it has had its day.

Town centres will become residential areas - McCarthy and Stone type pensioner flats mostly - and the number of actual shops will plummet until you are left with cafes, coffee shops, pubs and the odd convenience store to buy milk and a paper.

Food shops will be supermarket, either by delivery or by car to an out of town, and most non-food goods will be delivery.

It's not the "death" of town centres; it's their evolution into social / leisure / residential areas where people go to spend some pleasant time without feeling the need to buy some unnecessary tat.

The future of the high street sounds great tbh.  Just don't invest in town centre commercial property or high street retailers.

Living, lifestyle, entertainment and virtual reality centres. It will be great for those who like that sort of 'processed food' lifestyle and also very handy for TPTB to kettle the brainwashed and 'out of touch with nature' masses.

Rural areas could be great too.

Edited by Hopeful

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7 minutes ago, Roger_Mellie said:

Town centres aren't nice places to visit anymore. Most of them need bulldozing and replacing with parks. 

I expect most owners are reluctant to sell their "premium" real estate for a song though.

As others have said they will try to sell to property developers for residential gold first.  If councils are smart they will insist planning permission is subject to the creation of park/green areas..  but if all individual small holdings that may not work.

Edited by Libspero

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1 minute ago, Hopeful said:

Living, lifestyle, entertainment and virtual reality centres. It will be great for those who like that sort of lifestyle and also very handy for TPTB to kettle the out of touch masses.

Rural areas could be great too.

It all sounds good to me.

St Ives is getting one of those "locked room" challenges, in-town multiplex cinemas are springing up and whilst I'm not much into films the live broadcasts of plays and ballets are great.

Coffee shops for all that they get slated were the start of the trend for me; pleasant places to go and chat, read the paper, or just watch the world go by.

All the Mary Portas type "save the town centres" projects are just pissing in the wind IMHO; I haven't stopped "supporting" (buying things from) these shops because I never did so in the first place.  And those who did are now getting their consumerist fix on their phones.

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4 hours ago, Great Guy said:

I have to admit each town I visit seems to have more and more empty shops. Even the local city seems to have more and more empty shops.

I think the high street has had its day. It's so much easier buying stuff online where the choice is better, it's cheaper, no parking worries and no hassle.Local councils should really be dropping the rates bills etc to encourage business back in. As it is the only shops that will survive are charity shops and coffee shops.

 

Councils don't control Business Rates.

They are set by central government.

As other have said the process of destroying the high street was started by out of town superstores long before the internet became a factor. It was the big retail  chains that started the process. The fact they themselves are under the cosh from the likes of Amazon is just a case of the biter bit. Digital delivery of some retail items like music and books has also removed some of the physical product online.

As for surviving retailers I think their biggest burden is rents which Commercial property owners have shown no sign of any willingness to drop.

Edited by Virgil Caine

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Only chance town centres have is being a centre for employment and light services i.e office based work, dentists and the like.

Retail is deader than dead.

Theres scope for some oap housing but the likes of mccarthy stone etc are the biggest short going - the number of oaps retiring with good pension is due to collapse. And most people are wise to tge retirement home sczm.

Just buy nana a small terracd in town instead. She can use tge money shrll save on ground rent and yearly fees tofuck off to dpain for oct-apr.

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10 minutes ago, Virgil Caine said:

Councils don't control Business Rates.

They are set by central government.

Seems like a deliberate destruction of small businesses.  High business rates, high car parking fees etc.  Online stores don't have these overheads

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34 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

It all sounds good to me.

St Ives is getting one of those "locked room" challenges, in-town multiplex cinemas are springing up and whilst I'm not much into films the live broadcasts of plays and ballets are great.

Coffee shops for all that they get slated were the start of the trend for me; pleasant places to go and chat, read the paper, or just watch the world go by.

All the Mary Portas type "save the town centres" projects are just pissing in the wind IMHO; I haven't stopped "supporting" (buying things from) these shops because I never did so in the first place.  And those who did are now getting their consumerist fix on their phones.

Im not sure about coffee shops.

I think theyll go the way of mobile phone shops.

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45 minutes ago, spygirl said:

Im not sure about coffee shops.

I think theyll go the way of mobile phone shops.

They're bringing back the 17th and 18th century centres of socialisation to my mind before booze took over.

I'm a great fan of Wetherspoons but they do attract drunks making coffee houses a great place to meet up in a civilised atmosphere.

I think there's a good way for Wetherspoons to extend their appeal by having no drink before twelve so making their pubs de facto coffee houses.  If they did that with coffee and cake £3 rather than £6 at Starbucks / Costa they'd start putting them out of business.

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People want to buy experiences rather than 'things' apparently.

I want to open a chain of VR shop simulations which people can experience shopping. Perhaps I could set up in a High Street location. And have some sort of connection to Amazon, so people can actually buy the virtual objects they see in my virtual shop in a real High Street.

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Well I was in Cardiff for the first time ever last week.

I was staying in the city center, right beside the high street. I walked down the high street a few times to get to other places, but it was shit - the same shite shops that I have at home....poundland, card factory, kfc, burger king, macdonalds, tkmaxx (although I actually do like tkmaxx)....but the point is that it's just boring and uninspiring and generally shite.

The only reason I go into town at home is to have a coffee in a coffee shop I like (I admit cause it gets me out of the flat as well), and to buy groceries.

I couldn't give a fuck about 'shopping' as a pastime - when I was in Cardiff I enjoyed walking the Taff Trail starting at Bute Park and then spending a few hours wandering around Roath Park...i.e. beautiful places. Town centres are not beautiful.

There also seems to be a lack of communal spaces in the UK ones vs european ones i.e. little squares in Europe where old and young can sit together and have a coffee or whatever. And those European places have embraced apartment living i.e. all the shops and squares ect...have apartments in the upper floors of the buildings. But UK cities, or Belfast anyway, hasn't really embraced the idea of a town centre as a residential area.

During the week, Belfast city centre is full of homeless folk and groups of youths in the evenings after the shops shut. It's not dangerous as such but there's no great reason to want to be there. 

There are a lot of empty commercial premises in Belfast; there also tends to be a snowball effect where when things start to thin out in a certain area it gets worse and worse and then no major business wants to be there because nobody else is there.

I have an idea in my head of what city centre living should be like, but UK towns don't represent it. And if I had a choice, I'd much rather live near a place of natural beauty with one supermarket and one coffee shop, than near the dozen or so idential chain stores that we see in every UK town, which tend to sell either shit you don't need or food that's very bad for you.

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36 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

They're bringing back the 17th and 18th century centres of socialisation to my mind before booze took over.

I'm a great fan of Wetherspoons but they do attract drunks making coffee houses a great place to meet up in a civilised atmosphere.

I think there's a good way for Wetherspoons to extend their appeal by having no drink before twelve so making their pubs de facto coffee houses.  If they did that with coffee and cake £3 rather than £6 at Starbucks / Costa they'd start putting them out of business.

I refuse to pay Costa/Starbucks prices for coffee.

So Im stuck between MaccyD and Spoons.

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2 minutes ago, spygirl said:

I refuse to pay Costa/Starbucks prices for coffee.

So Im stuck between MaccyD and Spoons.

I see it as paying for the comfy seats, warmth and relaxed atmosphere rather than the coffee. I am however bemused when people pay those prices to take it out.

Though if I look at where I've actually paid for coffee, other than on the train, over the last six months it's been at leisure centres, garden centres and Wetherspoons owing to their convenient location for me.

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5 minutes ago, spygirl said:

No. Independents are just as pricey.

£3 quid.  just want the coffee, Ill skip the hand relief.

Took the girls out for lunch in scabbie tostie each, coffee for me and soft drinks for them for 12 quid. 

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On current rends give it say a century or so or maybe sooner and new housing developments will be focused around out of town supermarkets because of their free parking - then they'll charge for parking as well.  Despite the internet people will still like to go shopping and have a meal, coffee and drink and see a new movie etc.

On the other hand driverless cars and taxis might upset the whole apple cart and because parking won't be so much of an issue (if you own your own car send it home until you need it) the traditional high street might make a come back.

In any event the country will be so overpopulated, congested and even more awful it'll not be worth your while leaving your home and everything will have to be delivered to your doorstep.  Pharma companies will be raking it in with their medications and support devices because of people's increasing lack of excercise contributing to previously unseen levels of obesity.

Edited by twocents

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