Shops have had their day in The Felling High Street, whereas it would make a lovely village-like place to live. Has-been shops and pubs lend themselves to an economic conversion to flats. I've been accused (by my partner) of harping on about this before but look at the conversion of The Halfway House and some of the Costelloe Building shops, or, for that matter, The Mulberry and Old Brown Jug and see what can be done.
In my adult lifetime I have seen this very thing in towns all over the UK. The focus of the town shifts and the former shopping areas languish, as if leaving the issue to market forces will solve the problem. Take Newcastle when Eldon Square was built the City's shopping area imploded. Walk down once busy streets, now beyond the immediate vicinity of Eldon Square, and you'll see tumbleweed blowing down the vacant pavements.
Since this has been true for at least 40 years why hasn't the Government come up with a scheme before. Also calling out for a scheme is the paradigm shift that started 50+ years ago when we got TVs, followed by central heating, then cheap booze at supermarkets, then the indoor smoking ban which progressively and collectively sounded the death knell for the "lonely non grub pubs" (those not part of a 'circuit' and without decent food) but it is only in the last decade that pub owning companies, who have run out of poor souls who think that they have what it takes to make a has-been pub a goer, have started to recognise that some, nay many, simply have to go.
The shift to indoor mall shopping, home tippling and now, here's the real biggie, the buying of virtually everything online, must scream out to the Government that they need to solve or help solve the problem of redundant town centre shops/pubs.
Leaving private enterprise and/or local Councils to solve the problem without intervention will, for example, mean that the lovely new town centre of Gateshead will be blighted for years to come by the approach to it down the High Street, full of boarded up shops and pubs with only charity shops and fast food joints still limping along.
In the last few years any failed pub, in a shopping area, now quickly gets converted to a shop, The Bugle to Heron's, The Black House to Tesco, The Ship to Premier and The Beacon, demolished/rebuilt as The Co-op spring readily to mind. For The Swan at Heworth conversion to a shop is not an option...its nearest shop has just been converted to a house!
Here's my point...ghost pubs and shops lend themselves to be converted to housing and Britain needs more housing, particularly flats.
UKIP, last night got its first M.P. so I'm sending this link to Nigel Farage. Watch this space