December 17, 2011 1 Comment
In the midst of news reports about bumper retail sales in the lead-up to Christmas, albeit thanks largely to heavy discounting, and upsetting stories of people getting into debt in order to have a very materialistic Christmas, Mary Portas released her report on how to save Britain’s high streets. It was a curious mixture of the occasional sensible suggestion and ideas that don’t really take the big picture into account.
Local authorities using discretionary powers to give new businesses concessions on their rates makes sense. Exploring disincentives to prevent landlords leaving shops vacant makes sense. Proactive use of compulsory purchase orders on long-term vacant shops makes sense. Making banks that own empty shops manage them properly or sell them makes sense too.
But other recommendations are, frankly, a little silly. Would removing “unnecessary regulations” so that anyone can trade on the high street unless there is a valid reason not to result in the revival of lively market towns or would high streets attract tat sellers so that our towns will start to resemble an EastEnders street scene? Read more of this post