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The Guardian view on the future of high streets: let communities decide | Editorial

2021-07-26 20:09:06| Guardian Unlimited Business - more business news

Changing rules on commercial-to-residential property conversion will create a developers free-for-allOne of the pleasures of post-lockdown life has been the chance to go back to familiar businesses and high street shops, putting some much-needed cash into tills. Though often hit by the long-term shift to online retail which the pandemic, of course, accelerated such places continue to knit the social fabric together in vital ways. But despite all the local goodwill and the revival of trade, for some much-loved ports of call it may be a case of too little, too late. According to a review published this month, Britains high streets are threatened by a tsunami of closures, thanks to the debt taken on by small business owners during the past year-and-a-half.The report concludes that urgent support is required if a trail of destruction is not to unfold, when loans are called in and tax breaks end. Unfortunately, the government is about to make matters worse, not better. Next week, Whitehall plans to unleash a developers free-for-all that threatens to irrevocably change the character and texture of town centres and high streets across the country. Continue reading...

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