Historic England Asks People What They Love About Their Local High Street
Today Historic England is asking people “what do you love about your high street?” as the first part of a national conversation on the future of our high streets.
From 20-26 September, the public body is asking people to share what they love about high streets over social media. Whether it’s the memory of the place you bought your first ever album, a shop that’s become part of your weekend routine, or a place you go to meet friends and family, Historic England wants to hear about it. Those stories will come together to build a national picture of what makes high streets so special and to learn what matters most when it comes to their future.
Historic England commissioned YouGov [footnote1] to find out how people are feeling about their local high street. 73% of people said their local high street is important to them, 54% of people feel pessimistic about their local high street’s future and 40% feel motivated to take action to help their high street’s future. 71% of people said that they feel personal interactions are important when visiting the high street.
Historic England is tracking public sentiment on high streets over the four years of their High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme. New research [footnote2] shows that 92% of people care what their high street looks like and 90% agree that it’s worth trying to save historic features when trying to improve local places.
What I love about high streets is how they bring people together. Throughout history high streets have been our gathering places; centres of commerce, conversation and community. They help make where we live special. Nearly half of all high streets were built before 1919. They are one of the most visited and enjoyed types of heritage in the country, a connection to our past and a key to our future. We know they are struggling, and their future is uncertain, and we think this is a timely moment to ask people about their future and consider the part we can all play in supporting these important places.
Historic England is aiming to gain insights into what people value about high streets and what they hope for their future as important social, commercial and physical spaces. Historic England will then create a programme of discussions, commissions and experiments that further explore what high streets could be like in the future, all with the aim of helping people feel empowered to take action for the high street and support its future.
Share what you love about your high street
The conversation will take place on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn from Monday 20 September (00.01 BST) until Sunday 26 September (23.59 BST).