Use town centres or lose them
Published at 11:30, Friday, 16 March 2012
Empty shops and tired facades can bring down a high street with depressing speed. Shoppers abandon it. Thriving retailers begin to struggle. And the domino effect topples another town centre.
The picture is familiar across Cumbria and the UK as a whole.
All over the country places which were bustling centres of local life are becoming shadows of their former selves.
Now two Cumbrian towns are attempting to reverse the trend.
Maryport and Wigton are bidding for up to £100,000 by winning a place on a pilot scheme in which retail guru Mary Portas will attempt to reinvigorate the high streets of 12 towns.
Much can be done in this battle. But all town centres are battling long-term trends which lie out of their control.
And any amount of expertise and enthusiasm will struggle to counter the rise of internet shopping and out of town retail parks.
However, we need look only as far as Cockermouth to see what can be achieved. The town’s shops have been transformed following the devastation of the 2009 floods.
Wigton is using Cockermouth as an example of what is possible.
Maryport, meanwhile, is using a video featuring its people in an attempt to highlight the possibilities for the town’s future.
And people power is where the battle will be won or lost, in all town centres. The message is simple – use it or lose it.
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk