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Rural community warning

Brookmans Park's Bradmore Green
37 shops and businesses operate around the village green
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
It's being claimed that the decline in neighbourhood shops and services is killing Britain’s local economies.

A report by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), claims that local economies across the country are in a "perilous state" and that Britain is facing rural collapse.

The report, entitled "Ghost Town Britain" claims that ...

  • In the five years to 2000, the UK lost 30,000 local economic outlets
  • A further 28,000 outlets could be lost by 2005
  • The number of local outlets will have dropped by nearly a third in the two decades to 2010
NEF predicts that by 2010, many UK communities of 3,000 residents or less will have no local outlets.

According to the Guardian, the closure of corner shops, banks, post offices, pubs and grocers could lead to the destruction of community life in Britain within 10 years.

To illustrate the trend, BBC News Online went to nearby Wheathampstead, between Welwyn Garden City and Harpenden.

But is Brookmans Park bucking the trend? As in the case of Wheathampstead, Brookmans Park also lost its bank in 2000, but still has 37 businesses operating around the village’s Bradmore Green.

In all there are 40 business premises around the green. Three are currently vacant. At least two of the three are earmarked for future use. One is currently being decorated and another has been granted planning permission to operate as a veterinary surgery.

Brookmans Park currently has the following businesses operating in the centre of the village ...

  • Pet shop
  • Chinese take-away
  • Chinese restaurant/take-away
  • Indian take-away
  • Two Indian restaurants/take-away
  • Fish and chip, kebabs eat in/take-away
  • Optician
  • Off licence
  • Two dry cleaners
  • Dentist
  • Electronics
  • Five hairdressers
  • Four estate agents
  • Newsagent
  • Post Office
  • Butcher
  • Fishmonger
  • Grocer and florist
  • Bakery and café
  • Chemist
  • Household electrical appliances
  • Two home furnishings
  • Alldays convenience store
  • Health studio
  • Lingerie store
  • Hotel, pub and restaurant

So why is it that so many local stores and businesses in Brookmans Park are continuing to survive? Do you support the local stores? You can discuss this issue in the forum.

December 16, 2002

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