Are High Streets at a low point?

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THE High Street. Once a thriving part of the local community, now a forgotten part of Olde English tradition.

A town centre high street used to be the first port of call for generations past who needed to get the weekly food shop, shoes fixed or even to buy clothes.

Now they are quickly being forgotten as people choose to visit busy out-of-town shopping centres that provide everything in one trip.

And if you look around your high street you’ll see the affect it’s had. Deserted high streets are now filled with charity shops and more estate agents than is really necessary.

I’m sure the older generation will still nip to the high street to visit the butcher or the baker where they can but they are a dying breed.

We can buy bread, meat and fish at supermarkets of a similar quality found in your average high street, and often at a more competitive price.

Unfortunately people in the 21st century are choosing convenience over style and quantity over quality. They want everything under one roof so they can get it in and out as quickly as possible.

Shopping centres in Milton Keynes, Bedford and Northampton are already key locations for the modern shopper and with new developments popping up in MK you wonder what impact will be felt by those in the local arena.

Obviously high streets will continue in some form but what will the future hold when planning permission is given for the building of more and more supermarkets inviting shoppers to buy food, clothes, bread, meat and even electrical items all under one roof – and within walking distance of a town centre.

Queen of the High Streets Mary Portas has been drafted in by the government to try and save the high street and the old traditions of shopping but I think she faces an uphill task.

She has not only got to revive the high street and its shops but she has to try to convince people to change their shopping habits.

I would have loved to have seen my home town, Newport Pagnell, get a slice of the Mary Portas cash and it was disappointing that Bletchley and Wolverton failed in their bids for funding. It would have been interesting to see what she would have done to enhance those decaying town centres.

Admittedly, the only thing I venture into town for are a haircut or a coffee.

Going forward all we can hope is that if supermarkets do take over high streets they make them easily accessible for our older generation. They are the ones who will be hit hardest. They are the ones who still value the importance of supporting local areas.

Don’t get me wrong I still love my home town, I am still proud to say I’m from Newport Pagnell and it is a shame that the younger generation don’t use the high street more. But the harsh fact is people are using the high street less and choosing the easier, more convenient option.