The high street has for years been a centre of a community or town. It has been a hub of activity and a place to obtain a wide range of goods. Alas, things are changing. Out of town retail parks and the internet are having a dramatic affect.
People say, rightly so, that the high street needs to change to survive. This, however, is nothing new. Change is really the only constant in life. Looking back, it is somewhat amazing to see the change that has already occurred.
Change is the only constant in life
Change has and continues. In the years that I recall, the number of bars, coffee shops and eateries have increased to take the space left as the shops depart. Even with this change, the High street is still struggling for survival.
The above is doubly true in these crisis times caused by the COVID-19 virus. Daily we are seeing companies fail and I wonder what shops, pubs and restaurants will open when we emerge from this crisis.
Is the entertainment and hospitality industry stable enough?
As the High street re-invents itself and adapts, there is a hope that both the Cafe culture and perhaps the entertainment industry can revive the fortunes of this precious local resource. The question for me is can the public support this change. Do they want to?
Such changes will rely on the public’s disposable income being sufficient. For the public to have the cash and the desire to spend in such places when all the household essentials have been procured.
In my opinion, this puts the High street at risk once more. It makes it so very vulnerable to the ups and downs of the economy.
The community needs to buy in
If the Coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it is surely that there is a strong and undeniable community spirit bubbling below the surface. At the heart of any community, are these community spaces.
Would it not be wonderful if additional community facilities were to be created on the high street. Something for everyone and for all ages.
To survive, our High streets need to continue to adapt and more importantly to innovate. They need to do this in-line and with the backing of the community. A place to be social, entertained, fed, watered and provisioned. Perhaps even educated.
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