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Town centres to decline by 2014

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It has been revealed that a third of high street shops are degenerating or falling causing the Government to take action.

It is estimated that by 2014 if nothing is done only 40% of retail spending will be on the high street with many people choosing internet shopping over town centres.

The findings were revealed alongside a Government commissioned report aimed at revitalising high streets that are struggling to attract customers.

To publicise the failings of town centres and high street shopping TV expert Mary Portas known for her programme ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ has backed plans to reinvent high streets.

Portas has put together a 28 point plan to put life back into high streets which have a continued decrease in visitors.

The main points that have been highlighted to help the current situation are restrictions on night time deliveries to minimise noise for locals, bringing car park charges down, getting large retailers to give support and mentor local businesses and having national market days to help traders.

Mary Portas said: “Our high streets can be lively, dynamic, exciting and social places that give a sense of belonging and trust to a community something which, as the recent riots clearly demonstrated has been eroded and in some instances eradicated.

“This review sets out what I think has led to the decline of our high streets, my vision of the future and the key things I believe we need to put in place to deliver that vision.”

She also argued that without engagement and collaboration of local people many high streets will fail and everyone will see their investments wasted.

Over the years shopping in local towns has started to decrease with many people going to bigger out of town shopping malls, using the internet and going to supermarkets because they are now selling a larger variety of items than they used to do. 

An estimated 20 shops close in the UK everyday with 159 towns in the UK having one in five shops closed down.

The highest vacancy rates in medium sized towns were found to be Dudley at 29%, West Bromwich at 28%, Hartlepool and Dewsbury both over 27%.

The Government are expected to reply to the report that has been put forward early next year and have already agreed there are valuable points that can be put into place to save high streets and shopping centres.

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By Amanda Bainbridge