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Britons are still in love with their high streets

high-street-shoppingBritons still see their local high streets as offering something distinct from online stores and are keen to see them thrive, according to new research.

A survey of 1,465 people by Ipsos MORI for the British Property Federation found that 91% think it is important for their local area that their high street does well, and 83% think their area would be worse off without a local high street. Three-quarters say they visit their local high street at least once a week, with 12% visiting nearly every day.

Almost half of people (48%) say the quality of their high street is being maintained, 34% feel their high street is getting worse and 18% think it is improving.

In terms of what could tempt more people to visit their local high street more often, the most popular choice from a list of 16 was a better selection of shops (42%), ahead of fewer empty shops (31%), a better/more pleasant environment (14%) and better transport links (7%).

The polling found use and strong support for the high street across every gender, age, class and income group, although there was higher frequent use (every day or most days) among lower income groups, older people and those in northern England, Scotland and the East.

Even those who visited their local high street less often than once a month think the high street is important, with 72% of this group saying it is important for their area that the high street does well.

'Almost one third of people say they would visit their high street more regularly if there were fewer empty shops, demonstrating how areas can quickly fall in to a spiral of decline. Urgent action is needed to encourage investment back in to struggling high streets to fill up the empties, increase footfall and restore some pride to these much-loved places,' says Liz Peace, British Property Federation chief executive.

Image: Visit Lincoln.