The changing face of our high streets
More people are living on our high streets and they have more businesses, restaurants and bars but the number of shops is falling
THE face of our high streets is changing - with fewer shops, but more bars and restaurants. An increasing number of people are choosing to live on high streets, too.
Those are the findings of new research by the
Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS looked at how high street areas had changed between
2012 and 2017.
They defined “high street areas” as those within 200 metres of a high street, as well as the high street itself. The figures show that across Great Britain the number of people living in high street areas grew by 6% between 2012 and 2017 - twice as fast as the 3% growth in nonhigh street areas. While all parts of the country saw a similar pattern, the East Midlands saw the biggest boost in highstreet population - up by 8%.
So high streets are an increasingly popular place to live, but the picture for shop owners is somewhat less rosy.
At a national level, retail has fallen as a proportion of all high street businesses from 29% to 25% between 2012 and
All parts of Great Britain except London and the North West saw a similar drop.
Where shops have disappeared, other types have business have often moved in to fill the gap. In particular, the number of business units on the high street in Great Britain providing accommodation, food and drink increased by 20% over 2012 to 2017. There has also been a rise in the number of businesses in other service sectors, including officebased firms. The number of those has risen by 25%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “New technologies and changing consumer behaviours are changing the way we make purchases.
“Our high streets are adapting to these changes, combining traditional retail with café, bars and other services, as well as more experiential shopping opportunities.
“However, government must play its part, bringing down the business rates burden which disproportionately impacts retail, so that shops have the resources they need to invest in thriving town centres.”
Between 2012 and 2017, the number of high street retail jobs fell in every country and region except London
In 2017, 16% of Great Britain’s population was living on or around the high street