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Understandably, but misleadingly, social and political comment tends to look for the renewal of the existing urban and town centre structures.

This then also attracts the search for quick policy changes, such as easing the costs of property through different bases for levying business rates.

Short term changes in the rating system will not answer the longer term questions or cope with the fundamental changes in the market place.

The [sort of] assumption from the writer here is, that policy changes by agencies connected to the public sector, councils and political avenues are the only real actions possible for our towns.

The search for policies to regenerate urban centres will fail if planners continue to resist the decentralisation of urban retail units and try to maintain footfall where customers are less inclined to go.

Policies. Planners. Maintaining footfall. These words get tired after a while.

I wonder what the run-up to Christmas will hold for Ballymena town centre. Call me a hippy, a dreamer or an optimist but traditional high street values can return to our town one day.

People need a change of heart though. Real people, not policy people.

Then we might get it back.

–  Quotes from an article titled Why traditional high street has disappeared for good by John Simpson in the Belfast Telegraph.