THE extent to which people care about their local high street is exemplified by The Yorkshire Post’s week-long series examining the challenges facing town centres across the county.
They want their local shops to survive and thrive. And so, too, do politicians from Jake Berry, the High Street Minister, to Sheffield MP Clive Betts who is currently heading a Parliamentary inquiry.
And while these two MPs do not share the same political outlook, they do recognise that community involvement is important if towns are to retain their relevance as shopping – and visitor – destinations.
As such, this newspaper pledges to continue highlighting those areas which are bucking the national trend – and issues that need to be addressed if high streets are to retain their identity and appeal.
Nearly five years after this publication launched its award-winning loneliness campaign, it is significant that individuals from Mr Betts to Yorkshire-born retial guru Kate Hardcastle believe the high street can play a key role in tackling social isolation if other uses can be found for former shops.
This was certainly clear when Tracy Brabin, the Batley & Spen MP, challenged Prime Minister Theresa May this week about bus services and their importance to not just elderly people getting to the shops, but young people travelling to and from school or college.
Rather than looking at such issues in isolation, it is important that local and national politicians see the bigger picture while, at the same time, empowering and encouraging communities to make a difference. On that, everyone will be able to agree.