Share what you love about your high street

Honiton high street. Ref mhh 37-16AW 5725. Picture: Alex Walton.

Honiton high street. Ref mhh 37-16AW 5725. Picture: Alex Walton. - Credit: Archant

Historic England is asking  people what they love about their local high street as the first part of a national conversation on the future of our high streets.

It's a great opportunity for high street lovers in East Devon to have their say.

All this week, until  Sunday, September 26, the public body is asking people to share what they love about their local high street on social media.

Whether it’s the memory of the place where you bought your first ever album, a shop that’s become part of your weekend routine, or a place you go to meet friends and family, Historic England wants to hear about it. Those stories will come together to build a national picture of what makes high streets so special and to learn what matters most when it comes to their future.

Historic England commissioned YouGov  to find out how people are feeling about their local high street. 73% of people said their local high street is important to them, 54% of people feel pessimistic about their local high street’s future and 40% feel motivated to take action to help their high street’s future. And 71% of people said that they feel personal interactions are important when visiting the high street.

Historic England is working to secure the future of more than 60 historic high streets across England as part of the government-funded £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme.

In the South West, there are 10 HSHAZ schemes through which Historic England is working with local partners to transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, work places and community spaces, restoring local historic character and improving public realm.

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New research for Historic England shows that 92% of people care what their high street looks like and 90% agree that it’s worth trying to save historic features when trying to improve local places.

Later in the conversation with the nation about the future of high streets, Historic England will be seeking to find out what people value about their high street and their hopes for its future. Having crowdsourced this information, a programme of discussions and commissions will be created to further explore what high streets could be and look like in the future, all with the aim of empowering people to take action for their local high street.

Heritage Minister Caroline Dinenage said: "High streets are at the heart of our communities and have played a central role in driving economic growth for decades. It is vital we protect them for local people to enjoy long into the future, reimagining and rebooting them for the modern world so they can be proud of where they live. This timely research will help us better understand what people value in their high street and ensure we are providing the right support."

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Throughout history high streets have been our gathering places; centres of commerce, conversation and community. They help make where we live unique and special. Nearly half of all high streets were built before 1919. They are one of the most visited and enjoyed types of heritage in the country, a connection to our past and a key to our future. We know they are struggling, and their future is uncertain, and we think this is a timely moment to ask people about their future and consider the part we can all play in supporting these important places.”

The conversation is taking place on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn from now until Sunday, September 26..

To share what you love about the high street use #HighStreetLove via @HistoricEngland on Twitter and Instagram, or 

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