Portas: High Street isn’t just commercial
Mary Portas, High Street policy reviewer, comments on her own report:
“I don’t want to live in a Britain that doesn’t care about community. And I believe that our high streets are a really important part of pulling people together in a way that a supermarket or shopping mall, however convenient, however entertaining and however slick, just never can.
“Our high streets can be lively, dynamic, exciting and social places that give a sense of belonging and trust to a community. Something which, as the recent riots clearly demonstrated, has been eroded and in some instances eradicated.
“I fundamentally believe that once we invest in and create social capital in the heart of our communities, the economic capital will follow.
“Those who see high streets purely in commercial terms need a reality check, because, without the engagement and collaboration of local people many high streets will die and retailers, landlords and local authorities alike will see their investment wasted.
“This review sets out what I think has led to the decline of our high streets, my vision of the future and the key things I believe we need to put in place to deliver that vision.
“I hope that my recommendations can be a catalyst for change but high streets must be ready to experiment, try new things, take risks and become destinations again.
“Local authorities, landlords, retailers and the public need to work together to really animate the spaces they occupy; re-imagined as destinations for retail, socialising, culture, health, wellbeing, creativity and learning.”