Have your say on the future of our high streets
If you could change one thing to improve your town or village centre, what would it be?
Today, the Gazette is launching a survey into how north Northumberland residents think their towns or villages should change in the future and what those in power should be looking at.
It comes on the back of a national debate about the state of our high streets, as well as local comments about empty shops, and the recent visit to Alnwick of retail expert Bill Grimsey.
Alnwick, Amble, Rothbury, Wooler, Seahouses and other villages have been hit by the same problems as many other centres in the country as the threat from the internet is widely blamed for a reduction in high-street shopping.
But this area has so much going for it, with a huge tourism industry, world-class attractions and great people. It also has its issues, particularly as tourism is very seasonal, meaning centres have to cater for their residents all year round but also an influx of large numbers of visitors mainly in the summer months. And competition is on the doorstep, with larger towns and cities not far away.
We also want to encourage you to use local shops more and help save our high streets.
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Today, we are giving you the chance to tell us how you think your high street or town centre can be improved and where its strengths lie.
Your opinions will be shared with those in authority and direct how we report on the county, the issues we focus on and what we fight for.
Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “We are asking you to lead the way in our coverage.
“We want you to tell us what matters to you and what you want to see as towns and villages go through an important time of change, which is both vital and necessary.
“No one knows north Northumberland better than the people who live and work here and the things that are important to you will form the basis of this campaign. We will dedicate pages of this newspaper to making your voices heard.”
To get involved, please either fill out the survey online or in today’s Gazette. Not all questions will be applicable to your town or village.
Your views may be quoted and we will use what you tell us to form the basis of stories we report on in the coming weeks and months.