YT blogger, Tanya Coutts reflects on the changing nature of our high street.
“It’s a little bit scary how many stores are closing down. Every week there’s news that another store is on the verge of going into administration – most recently Hawkins Bazaar, Past Times, Peacocks and Bon Marché have all admitted they’re in trouble – and I do wonder if soon there’ll even be a High Street, as we know it, left.
Already many stores have been replaced by a variety of shops offering goods for just a pound or less, but how many of these do we really need? And are they the only store that can survive in what was once a bustling shopping area?
As a child I remember going into Grays on a Saturday morning and spending hours looking around all the shops, both in the precinct and on the High Street, including Woolworths and Somerfield, before having a nice lunch in McDonalds (only if we were good of course). But now, not one of these stores remains in Grays Town Centre. Who would have thought? Instead we have a walk-in health centre, pound stores and a betting shop in their place.
The arrival of Lakeside, which celebrated its 21st birthday last year, had a huge effect on the way we shop and many stores moved to follow their customers. Now, I assume, as more stores begin to sell online, the ease of internet shopping is doing the same thing. But it saddens me to see what we once knew as a Town Centre or a High Street changing so drastically in such a relatively short space of time.
So this year, as a belated New Year’s Resolution if I may, I’m going to make a conscious effort to visit Grays Town Centre and spend my pennies on the High Street in the hope that my continued custom may prevent a few more stores disappearing from our High Streets.