‘Shops are the soul of our area’s high streets’

A fixed-odds gambling machine Picture: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

NEWS COMMENT: A move in the right direction but still not a win for all

Have your say

We’ve all seen our high streets suffering over the past few years.

There are lots of reason why businesses have found it difficult.

In the early 2000s there was the drive to build out-of-town shopping areas that took footfall away from main streets.

Then there was the financial crash in 2008 that hit every single one of us in the pocket.

Businesses, particularly shops, bore the brunt of the pain.

But over recent years, we’ve reported over and over again about businesses closing.

This has been reflected in empty units at shopping centres and high streets.

We’ve repeatedly raised the issue in connection with North End in Portsmouth.

But it’s certainly not the only place that’s faced difficulty.

So it’s with some sadness that we report today of a Milton stalwart – Cards and Balloons R Us.

It’s a shop that does exactly what it says on the tin, and has done for the past 20 years.

But now its doors are closing.

Owner Carmen White says it’s down to a number of factors.

She particularly cites the closure of the last bank in the area, a Lloyds that shut last May, and the opening of the Tesco superstore at Fratton Park, less than a mile away.

She says the bank brought people to the area to do their financial business and once it shut, those people didn’t come back.

And Tesco does what supermarkets do very well – offers pretty much everything at good prices.

While we’re not critical of Tesco, the impact is tangible.

Of course, we need to be realistic about businesses – they come and they go.

But Cards and Balloons R Us and others like it are the lifeblood of our high streets and we’re all a little poorer without them.