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👆 Leon Paternoster

The town with no centre

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Noted: Apocalypse now for Britain’s retailers as low wages and the web cause ruin:

But major change can require major capital investment. And many high streets and smaller shopping centres will struggle to find the investment needed to survive. Lyon says some retail space clearly has no future. “Retailers, local government and landlords will need to work together: they’ll have to bite the bullet, flatten some space and utilise it for much-needed housing.”

Thought this was fairly interesting, more so for the questions it poses rather than the article itself.

We may raise an eyebrow at the irony of low wages causing the demise of the large apartment store.

This did make me think about the purpose and future of the town centre. Presumably it’s changed over time. At some point mid-sized conurbations with a single, fairly clearly defined centre such as Ipswich morphed from mainly civic to commercial spaces. Will they now revert? Who knows, perhaps we’ll start investing in libraries and they’ll become the focal point of the centre? Or perhaps we’ll flatten the Debenhams, M&Ss and Lloyds and replace them with houses, schools and parks, thereby erasing the idea of a centre – and even a town – altogether.