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Support Local Independent Business Lancashire & Cumbria

This page is intended to allow those local independent retailers, designers and creators, crafters share news about their businesses and to allow our local consumers a great way to find out more about the retailers in your area. Mary's goal is pretty clear: "My goal is to breathe economic and community life back into our High Streets and town centres. I want to see all our High Streets bustling with people, services, and jobs. They should be vibrant places that people choose to visit. They should be destinations. Anything less is a wasted opportunity." TV retail expert Mary Portas said it was too late to save every high street but warned that casualties will continue to increase unless action is taken to tackle the "crisis". She recommended a series of measures aimed at revitalising high streets and shopping centres struggling to attract customers in the face of growing competition from the internet and out-of-town sites. Research published by the Government to mark the report showed that a third of high streets were "degenerating or failing", and that by 2014 less than 40% of retail spending will be in town centres. Ms Portas, presenter of the BBC programme Mary Queen Of Shops, said the high street had been "displaced" by out-of-town shopping centres, without anyone considering the impact of such a huge change. Community had been sacrificed for convenience, and there was now no sense of "belonging" to a local high street, which could partly explain the summer's riots, she said. The Government and business groups largely welcomed the report, but councils voiced concern about some of the recommendations. Prime Minister David Cameron said the Government will review the report and respond next spring, adding: "The high street should be at the very heart of every community, bringing people together, providing essential services and creating jobs and investment; so it is vital that we do all that we can to ensure they thrive." Ms Portas made 28 recommendations which will now be studied in detail by the Department for Communities and Local Government and other Whitehall departments. She said that among the most important were suggestions that town teams should be established, praising the system in France where senior officials protect town centres. She also called for the removal of unnecessary regulations to make it easier for people to become market traders, cuts in business rates, and a parking league table so shoppers could see how their town compared on charges. Ms Portas said the Government had only called in one out-of-town development since 2008 even though it had been given the chance to review 146 schemes, stressing there should be a new "exceptional sign off" by the Local Government Secretary. Her report said the way people shopped had changed "beyond recognition" forever, adding: "The phenomenal growth of online retailing, the rise of mobile retailing, the speed and sophistication of the major national and international retailers, the epic experiences offered by today's new breed of shopping mall, combined with a crippling recession, have all conspired to change today's retail landscape." The only hope high streets have of surviving is to deliver something new, said the report, noting that vacancy rates have doubled over the last two years. Ms Portas said: "Although some high streets are thriving, most have a fight on their hands. Many are sickly, others are on the critical list and some are now dead. "We cannot and should not attempt to save every high street but my findings have led me to believe that unless urgent action is taken, the casualties will only continue to multiply." The report showed that the number of town centre stores fell by an estimated 25,000 in the past 11 years, with almost one in six shops standing empty. The internet was identified as one of the main threats to the high street, with retailers needing fewer shops to sell their goods. Meanwhile shoppers have been "flocking" to out-of-town developments, which had been allowed to flourish by the UK's planning rules.
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Support Local Independent Business Lancashire & Cumbria

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Category: Local Business
Found: 15.10.2015

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