Teddington High Street in national top ten

Teddington High Street in national top ten

Teddington High Street has been shortlisted for High Street of the Year

The competition, run in conjunction with the Telegraphʼs Reinvent the High Street campaign, has seen Teddington listed in the final ten for the accolade. Telegraph readers nominated their favourite local High Streets on the basis of elements such as number of empty shops, standard of buildings, cleanliness and parking restrictions.

There is no denying that it has been a tough decade for the local high street. High business rates, parking charges and the rapid expansion of out of town shopping centres have put huge pressure on local, independent businesses. Instead of the traditional butcher, baker and florist, many of the countryʼs 5000 local high streets now feature a proliferation of charity shops, betting shops and boarded up units. With as many as one in six shops empty in Britainʼs local high streets, it is easy to see why many of us have abandoned them.

However, with Teddington bucking that trend, it is time to focus on what makes a great high street and what local residents can all do to keep them thriving. The Chancellorʼs Autumn Statement included many measures designed to help struggling local businesses. Business rates have been capped at a two per cent annual rise. There are also discounts for small shops, and 50 per cent reliefs for those taking on empty premises, and incentives for digital upgrades.

Teddington has a bustling local economy, but with the rise of internet shopping and its proximity to the retail giants in Kingston, Richmond and even London mean that if residents say they care about their local high streets, the message is to try and spend more of their money there. If all local residents spent just £5 a week in local, independent shops, it would be worth £5.1 million a year to the local economy.

The Totally Locally campaign is a non-profit, community driven project which has been hugely successful in Teddington and aims to remind residents of the value of their local shops and of the range of retail outlets that their High Street has to offer. Teddington residents will be familiar with their £5 and £10 campaigns, which have persuaded locals to part with their cash in shops they may have usually walked past.

This is not just about a nostalgic view of how shopping was in the past, but an effort to keep a vibrant local retail culture alive by highlighting interesting local shops, where owners make an effort to treat their customers as individuals rather than just consumers.

The winner of High Street of the Year is due to be announced early in the new year. With a proliferation of fantastic independent shops, ranging from bakers to craft shops, in the last frantic run up to Christmas, it is worth remembering what sits on our doorsteps rather than simply logging on.

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