Cafes take over as butchers and bakers desert UK high streets

Just 18 percent of applications asked permission to convert other types of premises into shops – a net loss of 43 percent. A third of applications wanted to convert sites into restaurants and cafes. A further 11 percent were to convert properties into pubs and bars. And another 14 percent of applications wanted to set up hot takeaway food businesses. Just 16 percent of applications wanted to change eateries, pubs and fast food places to other types of business. The stark analysis comes as the battles to halt the loss of thousands of shops and jobs in the hearts of Britain’s towns and cities with a Save Our High Streets crusade which has campaigned for innovative measures and more government money to boost struggling high streets.

With growing numbers of shoppers buying all kinds of items online, traditional retailers are finding it hard to make a profit – particularly when business rates are high and parking is restricted in towns.

Jemma Holloway, retail product manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “With the internet making it so easy to run a successful business without the traditional overheads, it’s no surprise to see a decline in the number of shops.

“But with more than 10 million people living just a short walk away from a local high street, it is important for the estimated 100,000 shops that remain that people take advantage of them to stop them dying out.”

‘We were shocked because Dave was such a red-blooded ladies’ man. We hadn’t the slightest clue’ ‘I was never certain if we’d been fired or quit. I offered my hand to Dave as a parting gesture but he declined it’

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