Empty Shops, Shop Fronts and Missing the Point

I was recently in a large suburban town centre which is a regional shopping centre. On one of the many shopping streets there were two or three empty units which had their windows covered with large vinyl signs which are designed to disguise the fact that they were empty. Fair enough you might say, at least the local authority understands the importance of appearance and not letting a place look empty, and were getting actively involved. However, nearby was a run of over 200 yards of empty and boared up units which were right-next to one of the main bus pick up areas, ensuring that 1000s of passengers each day were waiting in a sterilized canyon – what does that say to them about how important they are and what the owners think about their town? It seems to me that someone, somewhere, has the wrong priorities and not spotting where the real effort ought to be concentrated. There should be no excuse for having this 200 yard run of empty units in a prominent location not having some sort of activity or use (there are loads of temporary uses which could be put in there), although it would require some effort to do so. Perhaps having a few vinyl signs on a few empty shops is too easy (and it gets some Mayoral funds spent quickly) but it is a shame that the thought and effort seemed to stop there.

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