Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

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Can You Revitalise Your Local High Street?

Spending your money locally helps ...

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Did you watch Panorama on the BBC this January about the fate of the British High Street? I did, and it was all jolly interesting ...

Just visiting your high street and spending your money locally helps!

Just visiting your high street and spending your money locally helps!

copyright: highwaystarz / 123rf

They were talking about how it was being revitalised. There were lots of interesting points and I would like to pick up on some of them that I found particularly interesting. However, the issue I would most like to point out is that most of the UK's high streets are still in need of revitalising! Just this weekend, a local baker closed down after 172 years in business.

The Panorama interviewers talked to the founder of a successful high street business called Caddies Golf. Caddies are a destination, somewhere that people go to and, because it is the middle of a high street, it also helps to build the number of people who visit other shops near it.

Another expert compared the average number of visitors on an 'average' high street. The statistic was that the footfall to high streets has reduced by around 20% in the last few years, which mirrors the increase in spend on online shopping.

"Online shopping currently accounts for
around 20% of all shopping!"

They interviewed a property developer who had taken over a large (and currently unused) department store, who explained his plan to turn it into a mixed-use building. It would have shops, offices, bars, restaurants, a fitness space and lots of things to attract people to use it and come back day after day.

There was the local authority that had bought a theatre and was spending £22m on redeveloping it so that it acted as a destination to bring visitors into the town.

The high streets where the local council had improved the environment with pedestrianised areas, trees, benches showed an increase in visitors, but that one part that never seems to be improved is car parking.

I thought that the BBC had put together a really excellent programme, but the point is, what are you doing to help revitalise your high street? Revitalising isn't going to be easy, we need everyone, councils, businesses, landlords and finance providers to have new ideas and long-term vision.

"Obviously, just visiting your high street and spending your money locally helps, and we can all do that!"

If you are involved in local government, then you really do have a chance to make a difference, with better parking and maybe creating a destination. If you run a business then I encourage you to think differently.

Bigger, more established shops need to better understand their customers' needs. Smaller shops have a chance to be individual so don't be a boring place selling boring stuff, do become a destination for people to visit and spend money at!

Until next time ...


Would you like to know more?

If you'd like to hear more of my thoughts for revitalising the high street, call on 01234 752 566, leave a comment below or click here to ping over an email and let's see how I can help you.

About Jonathan Vowles ...


I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566