Future High Streets

Shopping online was growing before Covid, but the pandemic sent it soaring.Despite online shopping falling back as restrictions eased, there are some things we’re still buying online more than we used to.

Meanwhile, business rents, rates, and energy bills are spiraling, just as the cost of living crisis is causing customers to cut spending and food purchases. Reports suggest that more than 17,000 UK chain store shops closed in 2021. Ely lost its M&Co branch when the chain shut all its 170 stores this spring. Troubles across the  Wilko chain have hit the national news. In Cambridge, both the Beehive and The Grafton Centre are earmarked for redevelopment. Chocolat Chocolat has moved from the Grand Arcade to the Bedfordshire border.

If retail continues to struggle, what will our future high streets look like? It’s been suggested that venues such as cafés, bars, restaurants, entertainment and fitness will take over from shops as the main economic drivers of our town and city centres.

The district council must not stand by and allow our High Streets decline. It needs to work with local people and businesses to rejuvenate them.

What do you think? Email team@ecld.org.uk and let us know.