170-175 High Street West, Sunderland © Historic England Archive HSW16M04

Heritage Online Debate

These are the pages where conservation and heritage experts debate the topics uppermost in their minds. Read on for a lively exchange of views for and by those interested in understanding, presenting and caring for England's rich and diverse historic environment.

Number 9: Heritage and the High Street

Throughout history, our high streets and town centres have been a locus for retail, commerce and trade. Today, however, they are going through a period of significant change as result of competition from out of town shopping centres, the growth of online shopping and other social and economic trends that combine to create a challenging retail environment.

Whilst these challenges fill newspaper headlines, it is important to also acknowledge that our high streets and town centres are more than just shopping centres. Other important local amenities locate there, such as libraries, places of worship, health centres and post offices. Many people also visit for leisure, recreational and cultural reasons. As such, our high streets and town centres lie at the heart of many local areas, contributing to their shared sense of identity and community.

This edition of Heritage Online Debate examines the role of heritage in helping our high streets and town centres adapt to change.

Guest editor: Alex Hayes, Senior Evaluation Officer, Policy and Evidence, Historic England

The inclusion or posting by Historic England of any article does not necessarily imply a recommendation or an endorsement by Historic England of the views expressed within them.

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