I just read a statement from one of the founding partners of Scribbler. He said

Rents will have to be based on a percentage of turnover for a sufficient period to then establish a new level based on current trading conditions. It is vital that landlords understand that the world has changed,

I was just thinking about this in a broader sense this morning. Because Tamara is shielding, and I am being considerate of her (and of myself), I limit my visits to shops. Once a week to a local Waitrose and just twice in the last seven weeks to a local health food store. The rest is online.

So last night, Tamara placed the order at the health food store and paid for it, and I went and collected it. I skirted around the town to get to the shop and I waited outside. I waited while the number of customers in the shop went back to the allowed number (two people).

Then I put my head around the door to alert the manager that I was there to pick up the order.

While I waited I noticed that all the other shops were closed. I wondered how the owners were managing and how they would manage when things eased up again.

Ten days ago I met a friend. We stayed outdoors, on the common and we stayed a social distance apart. The sun was shining, it was warm, and there were lots of people dotted about on the grass. They were mostly young, and Dominic Cummings aside, the people there surely knew that they were only a day or two away (June before 1st June) when they would be able to meet and yet be within the rules.

My friend and I met again yesterday, same place, same time. It was colder and there were very few people about.

And that brings me to the death of the High Street. People need people, and when the sun shines they can congregate outside. But when the sun is not shining and it’s cold or it’s raining, where do they go?

They can’t go to the shops or to a cafe at the moment.

So they stay at home.

That’s bad.

And the answer has got to be that Government does something radical to make the High Street viable.

Don’t attack online shopping: That’s not the way to do it.

People need somewhere to go to be near people – to be with people and to sense life around them. So recognise that huge benefit for people and society and help to give it to them.

Do away with business rates. Make landlords take a hit and do away with high rents.

Get radical and help the High Street.

Posted by:David Bennett

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