COLUMN BY MELANIE PALMER, CEO OF SOLIHULL BID, WHICH FEATURED IN THE BIRMINGHAM POST
The High Streets are getting ready for the Great Reset, and with our unique on the ground intelligence, BIDs are leading the way to flick the switch.
The retail empire has collapsed against a backdrop of recession. The halcyon days of the 1950s when the UK had over 600,000 shops has been hacked to just half that number, and over 660,000 jobs were lost in hospitality alone last year.
With shared ambitions, BIDs and local councils across the country are taking a pragmatic view to reshape our towns and local centres with a suite of improvements that we would not have seen pre-COVID.
Recognising that shopping during the COVID restrictions seemed more of an obstacle course than a pleasure, we are now seeing our town centres transform into greener, more open, meeting spaces where the emphasis is less transactional, more experiential. People need people and High Streets are essential playgrounds to support just that.
The High Street economy is complex and ever changing – what will the new perfect town or High Street look like? I see our larger department stores as either sharp dwellings or pop-up marketplaces for designers and makers. The hospitality industry is steeling itself for the surge in pent up demand, with an exciting peak in independent hostelries emerging wanting to share a bigger piece of the unbranded pie.
As future residential blends with retail, there should be a growth in the butcher, baker and candlestick maker which we have seen sadly melt away like a baked bean slice from the High Street before. Calling all artisan bakers and butchers, fishmongers, cabinet makers, come to Solihull and make your passion your life in our central hotspot. We will treat you so nicely you will never want to leave…