Can turning shops into homes help councils save the high street?

Citation from an article in Guardian Local Leaders Network today: Can turning shops into homes help councils save the high street?

It’s important, especially for smaller towns, to have a niche that can develop their appeal over time. It needs to complement neighbouring towns. In Cheshire East, we have a series of historic market towns – Macclesfield, Sandbach, Congleton, Nantwich and Crewe – each with its own distinct character.

We have recently introduced our Free After Three parking scheme in certain car parks across the borough, making it easier for shoppers to come to local towns. Early evidence suggests this is helping attract more shoppers.

Councils need to play an active role in the fight to keep our towns’ retail centres, and they should consider imaginative approaches before looking at other action.