Star comment: High streets will lose their spark without M&S

Town and city centres should be quaking at the news that M&S want to move out of the high street and create more out-of-town stores. M&S says it is shutting 32 stores, though it has not yet revealed the locations.

Traditionally, the mark of a good town centre was the presence of an M&S. The departure of such stores signified a slow drag down as towns that were once considered affluent and prosperous were then considered more down-at-heel.

Rateable values were often at their highest around the local M&S because of the ‘honeypot’ effect of shoppers heading to their favourite store.

With a great food offering and reliably good clothes at affordable prices, there have always been plenty of reasons to visit.

The impact of losing a store would be very damaging to a city like Wolverhampton or a town like Shrewsbury. We would urge M&S to work with local councils to ensure their more traditional stores can remain profitable for the future.

The growth of stores in places like Gallagher Retail Park alongside the M6 is understandable as they are purpose-built for shops and for shoppers. But our town and city centres also need their M&S stores to be there for their future viability.

There should be more strategic planning around our towns as they plan for the future. The digital age and the growth of at-home working means towns need to adapt if they are to survive in the years ahead. Our needs and shopping patterns are changing and it’s essential that towns and the councils that govern planning move with the times. More must be done to retain the viability of town and city centres.

Boris Johnson says he is sorry. Sue Gray says there were many failings, many of them led by senior leaders, but that steps are being taken to change the culture of Downing Street.

The release of the long-awaited report told us little new. But it did reaffirm our understanding of the culture within Number 10. It was one where drinking was part of the working routine. It was encouraged and junior members of staff have clearly been punished after being led to break rules by their superiors.

The arrogance of power is clear to see throughout the findings of the report.

Partygate aside, one telling finding was that there were “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment” of cleaning and security staff.

Downing Street staff was a pit of rule-breaking, arrogance and bullying, with Boris Johnson leading the way.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News