Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The clue is in the word "out" you ditz

From City AM:

RETAIL expert Mary Portas yesterday accused the government of lacking "joined up thinking" and said it needs to introduce a clear strategy to secure the future of Britain's high streets.

Portas, who was tasked by David Cameron two years ago with reviewing the country's ailing town centres, also criticised communities secretary Eric Pickles for allowing an 82,000 square foot supermarket to be built on the seafront at Margate, a Portas Pilot town.

In an interview with Channel 5 news, Portas said: "We need some clear policies or planning. We cannot have a high street first policy, with the government saying 'Yes, we believe in it' and then have the Secretary of State signing off out of town retail. That doesn't work."

She gets another minus point for this bit of drivel:

Portas also pointed out that rates being paid by some businesses on high street were "beyond ridiculous" and needed to be addressed for new businesses to be able to open.

If there were no such thing as discounts for empty properties, charities etc and Business Rates were payable whatever happens, then clearly, the rates have no negative impact on actual live businesses and would not affect the total occupancy costs (rent + rates).


Kj said...

I can understand the affinity for high streets from a cultural perspective, but there's a point to it that I think has to be made. "Thriving" (i.e. high rent) high streets, in it's mature state, consists of the same, dull stores as you can find in any other city/town, the Apple Store being the giveaway species. High streets that are actually interesting, are in typically low-rent areas, with a higher residential mix. If out of town, or border areas, can cram together dull, streamlined stuff, together with big box, that doesn't belong in city centres anyway. When we know that the finance-people will concentrate in a corner of their own, preferrably with their, err, "high end" choice of entertainment with it, the rest of the city becomes can become the residential/small business mix that is liveable, interesting and nice, and most people want. What's not to like?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, everybody has his or her own personal vision of what the ideal high street looks like, but surely, "empty shops" do not feature on it.

Flats and homes, good, shops with something in it, good. Empty shops, depressing.

So if shops shut down in the middle, then the council should encourage the shop owners at the end to move to the middle and turn the end shops into homes again.

The council can help by doing proper town planning, i.e. have a nice straight street with wide pavements and few road crossings and have lots of car parking, and keep the place clean and tidy.

Ben Jamin' said...

Is there an example of somewhere in the World which has something similar to BR, but without the exemptions?

Might make for an interesting comparison?