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Two thirds of Brits believe that the majority of British high streets will not exist in 50 years

30 September 2019
UK High Street
A new survey of over 2000 British adults has revealed that 64 per cent believe the majority of our high streets will cease to exist in half a century. 

The survey of over 2000 British adults, conducted by ComRes for global legal business, DWF, also showed that 65 per cent feel that local authorities are better placed than central government to decide what is best for the future of the high street, while 34 per cent believe that the decline of the high street is an opportunity to help address the shortage of available housing in the UK. Moreover, three quarters (76%) think landlords should be flexible in dealing with retailers in order to keep shops open on the high street.

Melanie Williams, partner and head of the global real estate sector at DWF, said: "Our town centres and high streets are often at the heart of people’s sense of local identity. But the poll shows that consumer confidence is low and many believe that our high streets just won't exist in the same format as they currently do in the next generation.

"It's not hard to see why - with one in twelve shops having closed in England and Wales in the last five years. 

"But there are positive green shoots that we can nurture to bring about revitalised high streets. 

"Town centres need to move away from dominating with traditional retail stores and instead embrace technology, the opportunity to differentiate from neighbouring town centres and provide a community solution for all ages and needs, by incorporating leisure facilities, homes, health and care provision and entertainment. 

"The public sector, retailers, landlords and developers are crucial in delivering the transformation and investment needed to turn our high streets into new and exciting community spaces. By working together, they can be responsible for a high street revolution."

DWF has published the survey findings ahead of a panel event that it is hosting alongside Policy Exchange at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to discuss the outcomes of the poll and to more widely explore what the future holds for British high streets.

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