IHBC 2020 Yearbook

22 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 0 HIGH STREETS HERITAGE ACTION ZONES WHAT IS HAPPENING ON OUR HIGH STREETS?* OWAIN LLOYD-JAMES WHILE USE of the term ‘high street’ can be traced back several centuries, the development of high streets as we would now recognise them, coincided with more people living in urban areas and the provision of shops and market stalls serving a wider (and growing) population. However, as these streets developed they offered more than the opportunity to buy goods, becoming places where people congregated, seeing shopping as a leisure pursuit (English Shops and Shopping, Kathryn A Morrison, 2003). In the 1960s, cheaper manufacturing processes and the rise of ‘disposable culture’ meant that retail became an increasingly important part of what high streets offered the communities they served. It is therefore not 10–28 The Strand, Derby, before and after improvements to revitalise the city centre. At the start of the nine year project run by Historic England and Derby City Council, one in five shops was vacant. By 2016 all the shops were occupied and footfall had increased by 15 per cent, bucking the trend nationally *NOTE: This article was written pre-pandemic