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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.

This is an excerpt from an article published in November 2012 here.

Maybe a path has already been set for Ballymena…