Big Conversation Portsmouth: Survey shows big decline in people visiting high streets after lockdown

MORE than 65 per cent of Portsmouth-area people are visiting their town or city centre less or a lot less than they did before lockdown – while 16 per cent haven’t visited at all.

By ron Melton and Belinda Dickins
Monday, 5th October 2020, 6:00 am

The data comes from our post-lockdown survey, The Big Conversation, which more than 1,000 people responded to.

Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development, described the numbers as ’very worrying’ but ‘completely understandable’ as people adapt to post-lockdown life.

He told The News: 'All we can hope is by following advice we are able to manage our way through the virus more quickly.

Palmerston Road, Southsea - one of the city's high streets. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘The landscape for high streets was already challenging – we're going to need to take a very new look at how high streets will have a role in a post-Covid world.

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'The government reacted to a very rapidly changing picture at the beginning [of the pandemic] and made some decisions that have understandably saved some jobs but the cliff edge is the ending of furlough.

‘The failure to get enough support to cultural businesses and the fact there are no more grants mooted to deal with the second wave [means] we're going to lose a severe amount of jobs.

‘I would urge the government to look at that and continuing to hold the line will inevitably mean large scale job losses in the retail sector.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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