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We can fix the high street—and this is how

We’ve all got a stake in our battered town centres. So give us all a voice in their future

Illustration by Ian Morris

Somewhere between the end of Woolworths and the shuttering of Topshop, the realisation should have dawned. Our retail-dominated high streets are dying. Depending on where you grew up, if you go back to parades you prowled as a teenager, you will see half-empty charity shops and perhaps an empty concrete husk of a BHS.

It is market forces that have done this, namely our online shopping habits, which have accelerated during the pandemic. But we cannot leave the market to decide what comes next. High streets matter too much. They define the character and identity of our towns…

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