RETAIL EXPERT Mary Portas recently produced a report – well publicised in the media – about the future of our High Streets and Town Centres. The Portas Review comments about the change in the retail landscape – particularly the development of online shopping – that has led to many town centres struggling to survive. It talks about re-invigorating and re-imagining our high street:
Portas states her aim is: “… to put the heart back into the centre of our High Streets, re-imagined as destinations for socialising, culture, health, wellbeing, creativity and learning. Places that will develop and sustain new and existing markets and businesses. The new High Streets won’t just be about selling goods. The mix will include shops but could also include housing, offices, sport, schools or other social, commercial and cultural enterprises and meeting places. They should become places where we go to engage with other people in our communities, where shopping is just one small part of a rich mix of activities.”
The Portas Report has many recommendations and ideas for “re-imagining” our town centres. Some of which have been commented upon by the Hedon Blog’s colleagues at Talk About Local – Six ways hyperlocal could help your High Street. One of these ideas is about creating an Online Town Centre.
An Online Town Centre would be a place where local people and visitors can go to find out about the latest offers, initiatives and news about the town centre. There might be a graphical representation of each of the shops and businesses, with links to websites and an opportunity to really develop and highlight the Buy Local message i.e. a pound spent locally has much more local impact than a pound spent elsewhere.
An Online Town Centre could help generate renewed interest and even enthusiasm about the place. It could help foster new relationships between local people and their local traders and entrepreneurs. Buy Local could turn into Love Local? It could prompt the formation of a ‘town team’ or forum dedicated to re-invigorating a town centre. It could also become the eMarketPlace for the town?
So how about it? Hedon Town Centre Online – can we – should we make it happen?