This is what the high street of the future will look like

John Timpson knows a thing or two about the high street. The chairman of the UK shoe-repair chain that bears his family name was, after all, entrusted to lead a 2018 government review into what the future UK high street would look like.

Though at one time he envisaged a future where the number of shops in British town centres would have halved, he could never have imagined how quickly that revolution would come. The impact of the pandemic on our towns and cities has, he says, been seismic: “What we have seen is ten years of change on the high street all in one go, but it’s been all the negatives, without any positives,” he explains.

The negatives are obvious – store closures, job losses and empty streets. But Timpson believes there will be plenty of positives to come if local authorities show the imagination to turn their urban centres from shopping deserts into community hubs. “A large number of town centres, if they don’t do something about it, will have a real problem,” he says. “Town centres need to have a community hub, with shops alongside medical centres, entertainment venues, restaurants and cafes – all sorts of things that people will go to.”

… visit Wired to read full story

Main image credit: LEONIE BOS

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