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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thanks to online shopping, and, of course the recession, the high street is taking a beating with shops closing left, right and centre. Today's high street is a pretty glum place.

If these two factors are going to change the face of the high street forever, then what does this mean for the future of the high street? A growing clutch of empty, boarded up units waiting to be vandalised, ultimately resulting in unloved no go areas?

Or is there another option?

Rather than letting the high street go to the dogs, perhaps we should think about this; where there is change, there is opportunity. So if we continue to buy online, does that mean that former retail outlets, can now become meeting points or social places instead? More coffee shops (ok, i hear you cringing), or more youth clubs? Could former retail outlets be better used as social spaces? Flatten TopShop, Peacocks, and Woolies, and build a sweet little public garden?

Back in the 1980s, rundown dockyards and unloved warehouses were given a new lease of life as apartments. So if the highstreet is to lose its retail crown, what new lease of life can we give if it, so it continues to benefit everyone in the area?

What do you think?
 

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If Congleton is anything to go by, then the answer is simple.

Estate agents
Charity shops
Takeaways
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If Congleton is anything to go by, then the answer is simple.

Estate agents
Charity shops
Takeaways
temporary measures :) ...and i like Gibbo's car park idea :thumbs:
 

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99p shops :rolleyes:

My thought is that Councils are going to have to start lowering their rates, they are now in competition with "the internet". Knowing how councils operate, it will take a while for the penny to drop.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Agreed. They will catch on when nearly all the shops have gone.


But, is it a bad thing that they are going?
(I realise that this is a different question, g. I'm not trying to
hijack your thread ;))
no probs, boss! let the discussion flow along all avenues; they're all interesting to me :thumbs:
 

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The High Street as it stands is already on life support. Once the current retired generations pass on then it will have less relevance than ever as we transact more and more online.

The shopping centres, as that is what the High Street used to be, have long since moved to new areas where there's free or easy parking. It can cost me £10 to park in the centre of Ipswich for the weekend, but I can spend a couple of pounds more and just 45 minutes down the line is Westfield at Stratford.

So High Streets are more likely to become more social areas, at least in the medium term because it is the closest place to where people work. More cafes, bars, restaurants and more relevant shops - those that make a profit and those that offer services that cannot easily be moved online.

I'm very surprised that more shops haven't yet better integrated their online presence to the High Street. Personally I find it a major PITA to buy something online and come home to the inevitable Royal Mail red card telling me to go to the Post Office tomorrow to pick it up. Why not just deliver it to the shop in town and I'll pick it up at lunch the next day? I do get some shopping delivered to work but frankly I don't want every kid in the post room to know what I'm buying all the time.

As the High Street contracts I'd also expect to see more dual purposes spaces open up. To have most of the High Street shops shut for 16 hours a day is a criminal waste of space. We can expect to see cafes turn into bars at night, or even more radical changes - retail to bar or similar perhaps?

Things will have to change though. I work right near the centre of town, yet only go in 2 or 3 times a month and do virtually all my shopping online.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The High Street as it stands is already on life support. Once the current retired generations pass on then it will have less relevance than ever as we transact more and more online.

The shopping centres, as that is what the High Street used to be, have long since moved to new areas where there's free or easy parking. It can cost me £10 to park in the centre of Ipswich for the weekend, but I can spend a couple of pounds more and just 45 minutes down the line is Westfield at Stratford.

So High Streets are more likely to become more social areas, at least in the medium term because it is the closest place to where people work. More cafes, bars, restaurants and more relevant shops - those that make a profit and those that offer services that cannot easily be moved online.

I'm very surprised that more shops haven't yet better integrated their online presence to the High Street. Personally I find it a major PITA to buy something online and come home to the inevitable Royal Mail red card telling me to go to the Post Office tomorrow to pick it up. Why not just deliver it to the shop in town and I'll pick it up at lunch the next day? I do get some shopping delivered to work but frankly I don't want every kid in the post room to know what I'm buying all the time.

As the High Street contracts I'd also expect to see more dual purposes spaces open up. To have most of the High Street shops shut for 16 hours a day is a criminal waste of space. We can expect to see cafes turn into bars at night, or even more radical changes - retail to bar or similar perhaps?

Things will have to change though. I work right near the centre of town, yet only go in 2 or 3 times a month and do virtually all my shopping online.
perfect - relative to this thread, this is just the sort of insight/thinking i'm interested in exploring/understanding more about. I'm thinking it has taken the internet 15 years to shape the highstreet in 2012...where will the high street be in 2027?
 

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High Streets in old form exist only to sell stuff. They used to be market meeting places and were refined over the years. Banks grew into the spaces too, so we could be secure and have money to buy things. All those reasons are increasingly irrelevant to the 21st century.

What's fascinating is what you would do if you started from scratch. Setting certain rules (would you have offices, would they be put together or spread out) what would happen? Where would the businesses go that support the other businesses? The printers, manufacturers - all those sorts of firms? If they weren't near their own suppliers then they'd surely be near to their customers.

However you work it, the last point is relevant. The High Street stores are one of the last places to understand that today it is all about the customer and not about them. There is so much choice and opportunity for the customer for most goods it seems quite crazy that the High Street expects us to drive to it, take ages to find parking, pay over the top for the parking, walk around in horrible weather, pay more for the same goods we could buy online even from the same shop and then go home again.

Just how arrogant is that?! Everything is centred around them and not the consumer. No wonder it is dead. And then in most towns you have the genius local council who frequently refuse a change of use of the empty commmercial outlets leaving shops empty and less reason than ever to go into the High Street in the first place.

As you may have guessed, I'm not a fan.
 

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So more isolated pockets of shops and more out of town centres, with no centre or focal point and even more chains?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Abyss,

Those are some very interesting points. I hope you don't take this question the wrong way, but i'd be interested to know what age bracket you are to understand whether you have always felt the high street model is flawed, or if you're a young blood faced with highstreet model that's at odds with retail habits you were born into (I know the question is crude and flawed - you can ignore this question or flame it as you wish)

Here's one I'd like to explore:

"What's fascinating is what you would do if you started from scratch"

Ok - go on then :thumbs:
 

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My high street has been in decline for years now and is now about 50% vacant units, I think the best way to tackle it would be to make the area more attractive and concentrate the available shops into one smaller area, then regenerate the vacant area with much needed housing, also there is no area that needs to be left in a state of disrepair, round up all the long term Job seekers and put them tp work helping keep the areas graffitti free, fences painted, grass cut etc, not only are they then a benefit to the community but it will allow them to get much needed work experience ( and the tax payers that fund their benefit will see it put to good use ) and give them back some motivation and a purpose rather than festering at home.
 

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I think councils should provide free parking, paid for from the business rates that shops have already paid - if shops sre going to compete with the web then then how can they do so incurring high rates and having their customers scared off by parking charges.


But to be honest I'm part of the problem - and I'm probably not unusual in this: :tut:
I might go to the high st to choose what I'm going to buy and then log onto the internet to find the best price and- as a result usually buy online.
 

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I have a lot of sympathy for the high street shops - after all, nobody wants to see them all turn into abandoned, derelict buildings. But then again, why should I pay £22 for a DVD box set on the high street, when I can get it for £12 online with free delivery (sometimes with the same company e.g. HMV)? The difference in price is too great to ignore. Maybe the councils need to look at reducing the business rates and the landlords need to stop being so greedy with the rent?
 

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We don't pay business rates on small buildings here in Scotland. For the moment at least :) Our parking in Dumfries is largely free as well.

Dumfries has many empty buildings and most of them are up for lease rather than sale, which I think is the main problem. We bought the building now housing my gallery and completely gutted it. We would never have done that to a rented shop. Landlords here are reluctant to invest in the properties they buy and then can't understand why they are left empty.

Folk here moan on about the council being at fault and, yes, the council do make some strange decisions, but I don't think they are as much to blame as these often absent landlords looking for a tax dodge.

Some things you can't buy online. My business, for example, is one where you really need to go in and look at the artwork. Photographs of it never quite does it justice.

I agree though that town centres could be better utilised as meeting/social places with cafes, libraries, leisure spaces.
 
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