Empty shops on our high streets - what is being done to help?

Several big name chain stores have disappeared from our town centres in recent months - leaving holes on what were once busy shopping streets.

This includes Whitefriargate in Hull. Almost half of the shops there are empty and it is not just because of the loss of large chains.

Almost half of the shops on Whitefriargate in Hull are empty. Credit: ITV Calendar

ITV Calendar surveyed the street to see how many units are trading. It is a repeat of research we carried out five years ago.

Out of 45 shops, 20 are empty. Five more than last time we did this survey.

There are some signs of recovery. The Department for Work and Pensions is taking the ground floor of the former Marks and Spencer as a centre to help people back into work but longer term the whole shop will be much harder to fill.

Another sign of recovery is footfall. Last month back to where it was 18 months ago.

The council is applying for a further £19.5m from the government to continue this work.

ITV Calendar spoke to retail expert Clare Bailey about how high streets can recover from the effects of the pandemic.