Many of you will have already seen the report from Mary Portas on the nation’s high streets, and read her 28 recommendations for how to keep them alive in the years to come. The report comes with the shocking revelation that the number of town centre stores in the UK has decreased by 25,000 in the last 11 years, and almost one in six outlets are currently standing empty.
It’s a fascinating report, but what struck us was how many of her recommendations are already being implemented here in Dorchester! Here’s a couple of points that we thought would be worth highlighting…
2. Empower successful Business Improvement Districts to take on more responsibilities and powers and become “Super-BIDs”
One of the key changes Portas wants to see is the creation of so-called “Super-BIDs”. She describes the BID model in glowing terms, and in her view its strength lies in its ability to engender a feeling of trust among retailers to promote investment in areas.
Portas would like to see the BIDs become more sophisticated and take on a broader role, working to develop a dynamic strategic vision for our towns. This is all music to our ears, as we’d love to build on the successes we’ve had in Dorchester in the last couple of years.
Free Parking Schemes
9. Local areas should implement free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres and we should have a new parking league table
Sound familiar? Mary Portas’ ninth recommendation is for more towns to implement free parking schemes, similar to the one we’ve been running in Dorchester for the last year. It’s been an extremely well received and successful project for us, and we’re tremendously gratified to see this being acknowledged as the way forward by influencial figures like Mary. She is the queen of shops after all!
Click here to read the full Mary Portas High Street Review
Don’t forget the Dorchester ambassadors will be in the town’s car parks this weekend, so if you need any advice or help with finding shops or attractions, they will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.