Sunday, December 10, 2023

Tanya’s Blog: What is next for our high streets

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Already many stores have been replaced by a variety of shops offering goods for just a pound or less, but how many of these do we really need?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.


  1. I am sorry Tanya but Grays needs a thorough overhaul before it is worth going there. I have been going there for years but have now decided enough is enough. Drug dealing on Morrisons steps…fighting outside the State…drinking in the high street ..smelly bins…and no shops worth going to. I am not alone in giving Grays the thumbs down…PLUS you never see any police force in sight.

  2. I have been been living in the Grays area since, 1967 I was a bus driver at the London Road Depot, London Transport, I remember the old High Street, if you wanted to go to Grays Beach you had to cross over a Level Crossing, I drove on the Route 370, and we turned right behind the old Queens Hotel PH into the High Street, from Clarence Road, I married my wife in the, old Marriage registry office in
    Stanley Road opposite the old Council yard, Grays shops were all really run down, well before the 1990’s, I think the death bell sounded for the shops, when they allowed, Lakeside to open, it not only killed off Grays but every other shopping area in a twenty mile radius, what as been the answer to Lakeside, Aldis, four Pound shops, at least six charity shops, those alone help to kill off any good shop on the high street, along with the 24/7 shops who sell everything you could want, at a very dear inflated price, its a pity about the State cinema, and the other cinema on Gravel Hill near to the police station, the flats in argent street have led to a increase in the crime rate, because of cheap drinks from 24/7 discount stores, and the sudden boom in the drug culture amongst the young, I feel it is a break down in morals from there parents, they show no respect and have no respect for anything or anyone, I dont blame the Police, they have had there budget cut severely over the last few years, so there is fewer police to walk the streets, and dont forget motorist are easier to stop and Fine than chasing after Burgulars and Muggers etc, I am also sorry Tanya to rain on your parade, but I to have a very rosy memory of Grays and its shops, all that’s left is a shell of a town, that needs a severe cash injection to save it, if it isn’t to late.


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