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What Next For…

The High Street

Peter Brewis - LinkedIn

For more information on Peter Brewis click the button below to visit his LinkedIn page

The death of the High Street has been predicted for a long time. It is widely recognised that high streets have been struggling to adapt to the rise of retail parks and online shopping. In short, they are struggling to be relevant; and a stroll down Stanley’s Front Street or along Consett’s Middle Street doesn’t do much to dispel this view.

However, is it possible to turn the tide? Is this just the bottom of a cyclical trend? Are there good times ahead? There are signs out there that change is coming.

The bottom line is that people like the ‘shopping experience’ they like the interaction, they like to touch and feel products before they buy them and they like to talk to people who know about what they are selling. These are all areas where online struggles to compete. This is the reason online retailers are increasingly looking for a high street presence and this is as important for small online retailers as it is for the larger ones. The trick is obviously to be able to do it in a way which works both for the retailer and also the shoppers.

Add to this the wonderful local retailers who are bucking the trend and providing a great service when everything is stacked against them and I think there is room for optimism for the future of the high street. You don’t have to look far, have a look to Lanchester some time to see what a thriving High Street could look like. A fabulous range of shops and other businesses at the heart of the community.

Time will tell if the landscaping work proposed to Consett’s Middle Street and the work already carried out to Stanley’s Front Street will be a catalyst of change. My own gut feeling is that something much more radical is required. Let’s hope this work is part of a larger plan where all the key stakeholders are pulling together to give both Consett and Stanley a town centre that they can be proud of.

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