Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Death of the High Street

The Ordnance Survey's High Streets interactive map shows the location of all High Streets (main streets) in Great Britain. 'High Street' is the most common street name in the UK. This map however is not about mapping all the roads named 'High Street' but identifying all the main retail streets in Great Britain.

To be classified as a 'High Street' for the OS High Streets map a road must have a name and be a street which predominately consists of retail outlets. The road must have a cluster of at least 15 retail addresses within 150 metres. For the purposes of this map other retail centers such as retail parks, industrial estates, and isolated shopping centers are excluded.

The OS High Street map is a great resource for finding the main retail streets in Britain's cities and towns. It is particularly useful if you want to assess the health of the country's main shopping streets. For example the Office of National Statistics uses the OS High Street data to explore trends in businesses, employment and those living near high streets.

Yesterday the ONS published its latest analysis into the health of Britain's high streets in High streets in Great Britain. This analysis finds that retail employment in high streets fell in three quarters of local authorities between 2015 and 2018. However employment in pubs & bars and in food services all rose on the high street during the same period. Overall high streets account for 14% of all employment in Great Britain so this year's lock-down is likely to have a huge impact on UK employment. Struggling shops are likely to be adversely affected as are the pub and food services sectors which were previously taking up much of the slack within the retail sector on Britain's high streets.

The OS High Streets interactive map shows center lines, building outlines and bounding boxes of each high street. If you click on a high street on the map you can view its name, how many buildings it contains, and how many of these are shops & how many are offices.

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