#Business “The High Street”

What is causing high street decline? What can we do about it?
Recent work completed, and accepted by The Government, supplied by the wonderful May Portas, makes me think that we all have a part to play in boosting our high street. As business people we need to make our shops as appealing and relevant as possible.
I wholly agree with the assertion that rents, rates and parking costs have a major impact on the high street survival. But, and here is the but, even if these elements are fixed, you still need the right shops carrying what consumers want. It seems to me we have surrendered the high street to charity and budget shops. In the 21st century it staggers me that we seem to have regressed back to the 50’s and simply rebranded what were known as jumble sales(people’s unwanted items). This was post war Britain, when people had little option but to accept this as the normal!
There is nothing wrong with second hand, preloved or whatever you wish to call it, but surely we need innovative, vibrant, new local producers and designers? If we are to become healthier, surely we should demand, shock horror, fresh grocers, green grocers, butchers, fish merchants etc?
WE have caused their demise, through our laziness. We have allowed the big supermarkets to shape our eating habits. Have you ever looked at how much square footage is allocated to processed foods versus fresh food in your supermarket?
We should petition our council to sponsor fresh food zones on the high street. Free rates, subsidised rents to open these stores. We should rekindle the high street, make it eye catching. In our Victorian town, use this heritage. Blackpool was founded on market gardening. We are “Moss” people originally. Our green belt is going, and forgotten. We need tourism, I wholeheartedly accept this, but local people, all 142,000 of us, count.
We have a world beating college in Blackpool. Fantastic young designers, photographers, caterers, beauticians, hairdressers, aerospace engineers, tradesmen and many more.
Let’s invest in our youth!
We should do more to insist Businesses take Apprentices, and offer grants and loans to enable them to recruit. Our unemployment levels are too high!
I have spent the last 5 years helping people into self employment with a lot of success, and the rewards can be seen by all.
I hope some of this blog touches a nerve? We have a part to play.
As always, you can reach me at FYCreatives, Church Street, Blackpool on 01253477147
Kind thoughts, Geoff Reeves


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