Number of people visiting East Anglian high streets down by almost a quarter, ITV figures reveal
The number of people visiting high streets in the Anglia region has fallen by almost a quarter in the last decade, exclusive ITV figures have revealed.
There's also around 400 more empty shops than there were back in 2016, and nearly 500 independent retailers have disappeared in the East over the last five years.
A number of factors, including the rise of online shopping and soaring business rates, have been blamed for the decline.
The decrease in footfall (23.5%) from 2009-2019 in the Anglia region is higher than the national average of 20.5%
That's according to figures from data company Springfall /ITV News.
Key facts about the decline of high streets in East Anglia
In the last decade (2009-2019), the number of people visiting high streets in the Anglia region has fallen by 23.5%. This is higher than the national average of 20.5%
Between 2016 and 2019, the percentage of vacant shops across the Anglia region has risen from 9.4% to 10.8%
Between 2016 and 2019, the number of shops vacant across the Anglia region has risen from around 2,900 to more than 3300, an increase of at least 400 more empty shops
The worrying trend has meant some shop owners across the East have had to make difficult decisions just to stay afloat.
They include Cliff Morris who has run the Whistlestop newsagents in Sheringham on the North Norfolk coast for 33 years.
He's recently made the call to downsize and now runs everything from a small corner kiosk after he noticed a big drop in customers visiting his store.
"What we need is footfall, and because of the internet and online shopping, that footfall has diminished so it's very difficult for a convenience store to survive," he told ITV News Anglia.
"Some of the elderly people we have coming in basically come in for a chat - and without these shops, they're not going to see anybody.
"If these shops go, that clientele are going to suffer. They're not going to have contact with people. In a town like Sheringham where there is a high proportion of elderly people that's going to be very sad."