Historic high streets

Save our High Streets

The future of our historic high streets is a key concern for the heritage sector as well as local communities, businesses and investors.  With 41% of our towns already classified as “clone towns” and another 23% on the brink we all know our high streets are struggling in the face of economic decline, out-of-town development and the growth of chain stores. Civic societies are campaigning for their future across England and the importance of high streets has been recognised by the Government through the Mary Portas review.

The challenges are not to be underestimated, but we believe that high streets should make the historic environment central to their retail offer as a way to create an attractive and viable high street. New developments need to be more imaginative in the way in which existing buildings, including listed properties, are altered and schemes are likely to become smaller in size.  Every high street needs a long-term vision about what it is offering and needs to fit in with the wider challenges faced by society. For example, the UK has a serious housing shortage. Why don’t we convert our numerous empty shop units into affordable housing? 

What we need is action and we can start today.

We can start by reviving the high street with small changes such as focusing on the public realm and removing redundant clutter and reviewing parking arrangements,

Get Involved

If you want to stay in touch on high street and put your views into the debate then we will be launching a new Civic Voice email group in January. This is in response to demand from civic volunteers at our recent network events. You will be able to sign up and hold email discussions with others who share your interest. o explore current and emerging issues, what’s working, what isn’t, and how we can tackle any barriers to achieving good growth in historic centres. 

Tell us know if you are interested in joining the new email group at http://groups.google.com/group/civic-high-streets


Attend the APPG for Civic Societies debate on high streets in February 2019 here.