The fight for high streets is critically important. In the past two years, more than 16,000 shops have had to close in town and city centres across the country. The effects are felt by c-stores on high streets who suffer as people desert an area filled with boards instead of bright window displays. This is not just a problem for those on big high streets, either. The loss of two shops from a small parade can be just as damaging to a business and morale of a community. We need the help of everyone in our campaign to promote sustainable high streets.
Politicians are currently faced with a difficult choice as pressure mounts to put the retail economy back on track. They are being seduced by aggressive expansion plans from big supermarkets promising new jobs and regeneration. It can seem like an easy option simply take away the restrictions on where and how supermarkets are built and see a glut of new retail space built. If they are seduced this would accelerate a torrent of supermarket building that far outweighs the already dramatic expansion of the past 15 years.
Our campaign to promote the high street is about making sure politicians understand they cannot take shortcuts and that there are no easy options.
There is already progress being made. Last month local shops had reassurance from the Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark that he would stand up for high streets and keep stringent planning laws. We must hold him to that and ensure it's not just a politician's promise, but is written into the law.
Download a letter calling on your MP to support the high street at www.acs.org.uk/highstreets.