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Third of high streets are 'failing'.

Summary: A third of high streets are "degenerating or failing" according to a Government-commissioned report aimed at revitalising town centres.

A third of high streets are "degenerating or failing" according to a Government-commissioned report aimed at revitalising high streets and shopping centres struggling to attract customers.

The report predicts that by 2014, less than 40 per cent of retail spending will be on the high street, with customers opting for online shopping and out of town retail parks.

To reverse this downward trend, retail expert Mary Portas has proposed 28 recommendations including a national market day, more affordable car parking and the introduction of "town teams" to improve the management of high streets.

"Our high streets are a really important part of pulling people together in a way that a supermarket or shopping mall, however convenient, entertaining and slick, can't," Ms Portas said.

She added: "Our high streets can be lively, dynamic, exciting and social places that give a sense of belonging and trust to a community. Something which, as the recent riots clearly demonstrated, has been eroded and in some instances eradicated.

"I fundamentally believe that once we invest in and create social capital in the heart of our communities, the economic capital will follow."

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the report saying: "I am delighted that Mary Portas has produced such a clear vision on how we can create vibrant and diverse town centres and breathe life back into our high street."

British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: "We absolutely agree that high streets make a unique contribution to local neighbourhoods and economies, providing jobs and services and building a sense of community.

"The report sets out some practical ways to address problems faced by the UK's high streets, many of which go back much further than the economic difficulties of the last few years."

Her recommendations which will now be studied in detail by the Department for Communities and Local Government with a response expected next Spring.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Dec 13, 2011
Words:356
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