In 2015 it was a parlour game; but by 2020, it was a serious worry, the subject of Commons debates. Who killed the British high street? What analysts had long warned of had finally come to pass. Outside big cities, British shopping streets had more gaps than Gaps. Once-handsome town centres were now a collage of pound shops and boarded-up fronts. Their only visitors were the elderly and the teenage: those without broadband on tap, or cars to get out to the A-road retail parks.


…ultimately the British high street died of neglect, with no agency willing to map out a different future for it. The result was town centres standing desolate, even as former customers gave their cash to internet retailers rather more sophisticated in their tax planning than their sales advice. However convenient, shopping in 2020 was a cheerless business – and one in which more money ended up in fewer hands.

I originally blogged the above quote here. It’s an excerpt from an article which you can read here.

What about our town

Can an agency map out a different future for our streets? Or are there are too many agendas and motives pulling in too many different directions for anything more than quick fixes and sticking plasters? Does anyone really believe that the surface we walk on around our streets is more of an issue than the empty retail units and high rates fees? Can we really just repeat the phrase ‘Ballymena is open for business‘ and expect a magical new day to emerge?

Last week I spoke with a business owner about how certain days are desolate in Ballymena. As if it’s a public holiday where the nation went to the beach and someone forgot to tell the shop owners. Desolate. This is not every day of course but, is it a glimpse of the future as described above?

Working for Ballymena

Ballymena Today is a private enterprise, resourced and maintained by a small team who are passionate about our town and borough. We have been writing about Ballymena for over four years and are dedicated to building a community that supports and contributes in a meaningful and effective way.

Ballymena Today is just one part of a bigger picture we see. We know we can’t fix every problem on our own but, we firmly believe that by working together, our Ballymena community can solve many of the social and economic issues it faces.

Come & follow us. As the audience grows, more people get connected and we are able to help more people. We aren’t just building for today, we are looking further ahead, building something that will be worthwhile tomorrow and the next day and the next year…  and with more people, maybe we can map a different future for our streets.

If you are a business and organisation that needs advice or help, check out are collective to see what our wider team are doing and what we can do to help you.