The UK traditionally had a love affair with High Street shopping. The city centres would be packed each weekend, with shoppers hungry to buy. In recent years, many such city and town centre shops have suffered a decline. Some of this has been down to the Internet and the recession, but the main culprit has been the growth of shopping centres.

Countries such as the USA are well used to such centres, usually calling them shopping malls. These malls maybe extremely successful in other countries, but they do pose some problems in the UK.

The cons.

  1. The British government is trying to reduce environmental damage. Already we are seeing advertising aimed at encouraging people to leave their car at home occasionally. As many shopping centres are on the outskirts of towns, or not on bus routes, this would prove difficult when shopping. It would also limit the amount of goods a shopper can purchase and carry home comfortably.
  2. British councils like to charge Rates. Modern shopping centres are often expensive for businesses to rent and then they are asked to pay hefty rate bills.
  3. The growth of shopping centres is having an impact on small businesses. Far too many are going to the wall, as they cannot compete with shopping centres.
  4. Concentrating a lot of shops in one area can have an impact on traffic and other shopping areas. Heavy traffic near the centres may cause chaos. Other areas of town may become neglected, run down and riddled with crime as they become less busy.
  5. Meadowhall near Sheffield

    The pros.

    1. It is great in bad weather to be able to shop for everything under one roof.
    2. Shopping centres usually have ample parking.
    3. The buildings are usually modern, spacious, light, and airy.
    4. Overall

      Recent developments in my city have left mixed feelings.

      Yes, the centres can be convenient when they are in a central position. Those on the outskirts of town are only for those shoppers who have their own transport.

      Once bustling streets in my city now look dismal. With almost every other shop boarded up less shoppers visit all the time. As these vacant store lie empty vandals strike and add to the crumbling appearance.

      Individual shops selling products that are more unusual seem to be disappearing fast. We are left with many shops that are all owned by the same company. Monopolies are rife.

      Some shopping centres offer great opportunities for those less mobile. They can be convenient and save the need to dart about from shop to shop, across the town. However, on the whole their impact on British town centres is negative

      Unless councils and the government decide to flatten empty shops, and use the spare land for something useful, our city centres will soon look like no man's land.

      One final afterthought.

      Already some shopping centres are struggling to survive financially. If they lose the battle and close, these centres will be an even bigger eyesore and, with other shops already closed, online shopping may be all that is left.