High street blues

photoSmall Business Saturday will doubtless prove a step in the right direction in terms of promoting small retailers but it’s sad that it is needed in the first place.

Some years ago I remember talking to a previous town centre manager for Reading. It was painfully clear that there was no interest in encouraging independents. Chains which not only had the money but the security to satisfy landlords, were all that was wanted.

Obviously the result is clone towns. Yet contrast that with housing. If a developer wants to build houses, they have to have a sizable allocation of ‘affordable housing’.

So why are large chains not forced to allow independent shops to use a small proportion of the giant footprints they take up on the high street?

It would give a mix that would benefit small retailers, shoppers and ultimately the high street itself.

With the competition from online shopping you might think this was an easy win but change for this industry is often slow in coming about.

But if they don’t do something they will have only themselves to blame when the high street finally dies a death.

About Alan Bunce

Freelance journalist Former Community Editor with the Reading Post. Former Business Editor with the Reading Chronicle.
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