Guest column: Dan Sutherland writes about his first visit to Grantham

Dan Sutherland. 300D
Dan Sutherland. 300D
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Branston Community Academy student Dan Sutherland spent a week at the Grantham Journal to gain work experience.

Here is what he had to say about retail in the town centre.

“Not being a local boy, my first experience of Grantham was on the Monday of last week.

It was a cold, wet and rather dismal day, perhaps a fitting accompaniment to the tired shop fronts that stood before me. The area seemed to be littered with dereliction, almost like a plague.

I couldn’t help but feel quite saddened, saddened not by where I was, but how it seemed to live in a shadow of former glory days.

I saw a town of great potential, a place that could, perhaps, flourish again as it once did.

What I saw was a recurring issue throughout the country, a large issue that modern society has to face, before it’s too late. That problem is the death of the ‘Great British High Street’. 
This is down to several factors, such as online shopping, offering prices that, sadly, the high-street vendors just can’t compete with, hence why such ‘big names’ as Woolworths were seen to fold, now solely existing on the internet.

Though I would never go for leisure, there is something satisfactory about seeing products before you purchase them, it’s like a sort of visual guarantee. Whether that be the sort of luxuries that you have to take a ‘small loan’ out on, or every day essentials, I find it’s always nice to physically purchase it myself.

I will concede to the fact that some things just aren’t available any where else but the web, such as half of the delights found on the likes of websites like eBay, where anyone can sell pretty much anything.

With extortionate parking fees and the ‘great’ British weather as just some of the factors to contend with, experts forecast a figure of one in seven shops to be derelict in the near future unless something gets done about it.

As times change and the world develops, these small stretches of retail just seem to be ‘stuck’ in the past, as victim of their own demise. Councils are now starting to wake up to the issue and, as you may or may not know, some will see a transition of distinct changes in the near future; but is it enough?

Lincoln has rolled out such a plan, titled ‘Lindongate’, set to bring this area into the 21st century. With plans to include such amenities as a department store and greater volumes of parking spaces, it’s set to re-vitalise the area, let’s hope it’s a template for others.

Now, I’m no ‘shopaholic’ and I have no issue with technology but I feel that there should be a balance of time spent internet shopping and time actually spent physically shopping.

It’s not a big ask and shouldn’t go ignored as these places will soon cease to exist, as empty shells of once bustling centres for business.”