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Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 18:06 GMT
Your views on Britain's High Streets
Are Britain's small towns losing their souls? Is out-of-town shopping killing the High Street? Does every town look the same? Can - should - anything be done?

Small shops down by 20% since 1995
Complaints over too many shabby shops
New government scheme aims to tackle the blight
BBC News Online visited Bedford to examine town-centre decline, and the resulting article has provoked a flood of responses. Here is a selection of your views.

When I compared [Nottingham] with my current home in Colorado during a return visit last year, I found the city to have a perpetual "grubby" feel. There's less litter in the whole of Fort Collins than in Nottingham's Market Square.

Ian Dickinson, US (but British)

Why would anyone rue the demise of the high street? In Bedford's case, just knock down the centre and let the A6 and A428 continue as trunk roads through it. The rest of the land could be made into a wood. Do the same to every town in Britain and we would not only solve a lot of the traffic problems but also make the country more attractive.


Give me town centres over soulless malls anyday - but when I shop I need to park. I stopped shopping in town centres after being forced out with expensive and restrictive parking. Liberalise parking and I'll go to town.

James, UK

I own a specialist shop in a pleasant medium-sized town. The nearest superstore is about eight miles away. This doesn't stop everybody going there, where shopping is easy and parking is free - so we in our modest business, and in common with others, have great difficulty making ends meet, and may well give up the fight soon.

Harry Hall, Southern England

If you want to see what rampant capitalism does to a society, come to America, it's like a premonition for Britain 5-10 years down the line.

Ewald Schroder, US

I live in Purley, long thought of as an affluent part of Surrey. Tesco's superstore has effectively turned what was once a thriving high street into a wasteland. You can't buy a box of eggs and a pint of milk without using Tesco's, and they have recently expanded clearly targeting the few shops that remain, most of which are now closing. The level of hooliganism and vandalism has shot up. The high street looks grim, there are multiple charity shops. If this is in a highly prosperous area, what is happening elsewhere?

Steve Legge, England

Economics work against the people and land. Local councils have sold off as much land as possible, which has then been developed into a clone of the next town. There would have been some consolation if the newly created areas had been built with some architectural imagination but the effect is usually a car park with shops built round it and the ubiquitous McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken stuck in the middle. The bottom line is the car rules!

Marlene Cowburn, England

If people cannot access town centre shops by car cheaply, then why should they bother? The out-of-town superstores welcome motorists with lots of free parking and easy access and provide more basic requirements for people. Who wants to struggle with bags on the bus which doesn`t go near your house when a private car is already there and paid for?

Mark Harrison, UK

See also:

30 Jan 03 | Business
21 Jan 03 | Business
17 Jan 03 | England
09 Jan 03 | Scotland
24 Dec 02 | Business
24 Dec 02 | England
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