save our high streets
Rory has made a speech in the House of Commons proposing a fresh approach to saving our town centres and high streets. He argued that high streets had been let down, across the country, by a lack of vision, of support and leadership. He criticised the impact of giant super-markets and out of town centres on market towns and communities and called for directly elected mayors to provide leadership in the fight for high streets.
The House of Commons Debate followed the recent publication of Mary Portas’ government-commissioned review on the future of high streets. Rory touched upon the importance of free parking in town centres and cutting red tape for traders and shopkeepers. But he focused particularly on the importance of the high street as a place – unlike the home or office – as a place where communities are built. He called on measures to give councils the confidence and financial backing to challenge super-markets.
Rory’s speech lamented the imposition of super-markets on Penrith against the wishes of residents, and spoke of “the beautiful symmetry and assymetry of the sandstone of Appleby, its moot hall, and market cross” as a symbol of all that was valuable in high streets and market towns not just for Cumbria but for Britain as a whole.