As part of our Love Your High Street campaign we have been calling on you to help us spread a little love in our high streets.
The aim is simple, we are encouraging all readers to make a conscious decision to shop locally and spend some time and money with the Matlock shops, small businesses and independent traders who ensure our community remains a vibrant place to live.
Between now and the end of the year, we will be helping to spread the word by supporting the local initiatives and great independent retailers we have on our patches in a series of regular features.
But more fundamental change is needed - so Love Your High Street is also about calling for more direct action.
We are backing the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in their calls for both central and local government to lessen the pressure on shops who are struggling to keep their heads above water. What we need:
It is a little unfair to complain about the disappearance of shops if you haven’t spent cash there in years. If you want traditional retail to survive, you need to support it.
FOCUS AND REALISM
We need to accept that our high streets will face a natural reduction in retail space. We don’t need to shop, we have to be enticed to ‘want’ to shop – and that means understanding the changing needs of today’s shopper, including hours of opening and much improved customer service.
SUPPORT LOCAL EATERIES
We enjoy more social with our retail, and want a wide variety of food and beverage offers beyond bland national coffee shop chain.
We want to be able to run errands while we shop – so it’s natural that not only do we want a good mix of dentists, hairdressers, beauty salons but easily accessible medical centres, nurseries and public services too.
If more people live and work in the area, then there’s more propensity that people will want shops and services close by too so housing development is a very real and sensible approach.
KEEP THE HIGH STREET SAFE, CLEAN AND TIDY
Human instinct is to feel safe and secure – we will use spaces that feel good, clean, tidy, safe and free from a monopoly of ‘chuggers’ and energy firms aggressively selling to you. The better a place looks, the more we feel attracted to it – less graffiti, more green spaces – and it is human instinct to respect a space that looks cared for.
The campaign is aimed at sparking debate - now we want your views.
Our in-depth survey aims to find out what residents and shoppers want, and what they think needs to happen to breathe new life into the heart of the town.
We will collate your views and make sure all councillors and our MP are fully briefed on what YOU want to see happen – and we will share them with key organisations involved in the debate.
There is no doubt that people care about their town centre – and they want to see it improved. So, please take this opportunity to make sure your voice is heard.