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Historic England asks Wisbech residents: 'What do you love about your high street?'

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Residents in Wisbech, Chatteris and surrounding towns and villages have been asked to detail what they love most about the high street.

Historic England is asking the question as the first part of a national conversation on the future of our high streets.

Whether it’s the memory of the place you bought your first ever album, a shop that’s become part of your weekend routine, or a place you go to meet friends and family, Historic England wants to hear about it.

Wisbech Town Centre
Wisbech Town Centre

Those stories will come together to build a national picture to learn what matters most when it comes to their future.

Historic England commissioned YouGov to find out how people are feeling about their local high street.

The results show 73% of people said their local high street is important to them, 54% of people feel pessimistic about their local high street’s future and 40% feel motivated to take action to help their high street’s future.

And 71% of people said that they feel personal interactions are important when visiting the high street.

Historic England said it was working to secure the future of more than 60 historic high streets across England as part of the government-funded £95million High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme.

New research for Historic England shows that 92% of people care what their high street looks like and 90% agree that it’s worth trying to save historic features when trying to improve local places.

Later in the conversation with the nation about the future of high streets, Historic England will be seeking to find out what people value about their high street and their hopes for its future.

Having crowdsourced this information, a programme of discussions and commissions will be created to further explore what high streets could be and look like in the future, all with the aim of empowering people to take action for their local high street.

Eilis Scot from Historic England said: “Throughout history high streets have been our gathering places; centres of commerce, conversation and community.

"They help make where we live unique and special.

"Nearly half of all high streets were built before 1919.

"They are one of the most visited and enjoyed types of heritage in the country, a connection to our past and a key to our future. We know they are struggling, and their future is uncertain, and we think this is a timely moment to ask people about their future and consider the part we can all play in supporting these important places.”

Heritage Minister Caroline Dinenage said: "High streets are at the heart of our communities and have played a central role in driving economic growth for decades.

"It is vital we protect them for local people to enjoy long into the future, reimagining and rebooting them for the modern world so they can be proud of where they live.

"This timely research will help us better understand what people value in their high street and ensure we are providing the right support."

Other MPs have also been tweeting their support for the campaign.

To get involved, share what you love about the high street using #HighStreetLove via @HistoricEngland on Twitter and Instagram or search for Historic England on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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