Can Your Town Centre Survive? - Tonight

Our high streets and town centres have taken a massive battering this past year.  

So how do we rebuild for the future, with so many more of us working from home and doing our shopping online?

Jonathan Maitland visits Stockton-on-Tees where the council is planning to demolish one of the two shopping centres which sit on its High Street.

It’s Director of Town Centre Investments Richard McGuckin sums it up:

A park with a land bridge to the River Tees is planned, as these artist's impressions show. Credit: Ryder Architecture

All over the country, the hit to the retail sector has led to job losses.

But Warren Duffy and Tamsin Lynham - each with more than a decade’s experience of shop work - are nothing if not resourceful.

Warren has set up a doggy day care company that appears to be doing well, and Tamsin is planning to retrain as a dog groomer.

Tamsin says she has quit retail: “Do I really want to work so hard for somebody else and stress myself out to be just tossed on a pile like I feel I have been?”

Truth is the High Street constantly needs to reinvent itself to appeal to consumers.

Gravity, a company co-founded by Michael Harrison, is in process of repurposing a former Debenhams store in Wandsworth High Street - creating a go kart track among other entertainments.

In what used to be the Debenhams make-up department, a new Japanese High Street will be built.

It’ll attract more than 5,000 visitors a day and bring in millions of pounds annual revenue to the area, he says.

And while some brands are turning purely online, jewellery designers Victoria Van Holthe and Tansy Aspinall are bucking the trend.

Their business Tada & Toy started off online, but now they’re refurbishing a shop on Portobello Road, London, to open up a bricks and mortar outlet.

Government guidance on Reopening businesses and venues can be found here.

ITV Tonight's 'Can Your Town Centre Survive?' is on ITV Thursday (22nd April) at 7:30pm.