‘Time for high streets to rise to the challenge’

Capitol Centre car park
Capitol Centre car park
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The head of the property group which owns a major Lancashire retail park has told the high street to raise its game.

Drew Watkins, senior fund manager at Royal London Asset Management which owns the Capitol Centre at Walton-le-Dale, said it is time high streets who are seeing a decline take a stand to compete.

Fishergate, Preston

Fishergate, Preston

It currently has just one empty unit - electrical retailrer, Comet, which went into administration last year, compared to 24 on Preston’s main shopping street, Fishergate and Friargate.

Mr Watkins said: “Out-of-town retail centres have a place, the internet has a place, and high streets have a place, but they all need to keep up to date.

“Retail parks are a relatively new concept but they have evolved dramatically over the last 25 years.

“Retail parks are probably in their third or fourth generation of existence, and in that time high streets still haven’t evolved.

“I think what needs to be remembered is as a society we have changed the way we live, work and shop. Meanwhile, we assume our high streets will stay the same.

“They need to evolve in the same way our society has.”

See Thursday’s Lancashire Evening Post for the latest part of our look at the high street.