You may have heard us waxing lyrical about the future fate of the humble high street recently. We have argued with an almost profuse indignation that far from the dire straits in which they may currently appear to find themselves, the job of this one-time hub of many communities is now to reinvent, rejuvenate and readdress the way in which the general populace now goes about their daily shopping habits.
Imagine our delight then to discover the announcement of an ingenious new £8m incentive from the Technology Strategy Board, devised to inject some much needed life into this not-so floundering British institution. The new scheme, unveiled by science and universities minister David Millets, will see businesses compete for funding to trial thoughtful and innovative technology-based approaches to rebranding the contemporary high street and any service or logistical issues it may currently face.
When speaking of this latest venture, the minister praised the employment of technology, explaining how it “plays a vital role in people’s everyday lives and has the ability to influence our movements and shopping habits. By developing innovations to regenerate the retail sector we will be able to breathe new life into the UK’s high streets”.
Meanwhile, high streets minister Brandon Lewis highlighted the positive aspects of the competitive streak that will be instilled in businesses as the high street undergoes a significant evolution. “This competition will encourage exciting new developments that could change the way business is done across our high streets,” he said.
Rounding things off nicely was chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Ian Gray, who concluded: “There is real appetite among business and consumers to come up with new ways to regenerate our high streets.”
We’re certainly thrilled to be proved right about the not-so-bleak future of our beloved local shopping strips.