Signatures which could help launch a revolution

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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We would not be so rash as to predict the imminent demise of the giant supermarket.

After all, the majority of us do our weekly shops in these monolithic temples to consumerism and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

But in the past year or so we have begun to detect a Zephyr of change in the air – a breeze which is perhaps beginning to signify a small renaissance for the high street.

There are several places in this region which have proved they can fight back against that oh-so-typical product of the 1990s, the out-of-town superstore.

These are places where small, independent traders selling niche products appear to thrive, places where you might still find a butcher, greengrocer and fishmonger.

Take the medieval market town of Bishop’s Waltham and the historic villages of Wickham and Emsworth. All seemingly thriving.

And it’s not just these rural and semi-rural spots where the high street has made a comeback.

Gritty old Albert Road, Southsea, has shown, thanks to an enormous amount of hard work and marketing nous, that empty shop units can be brought back into use, kept in use and an entirely new atmosphere created.

The same can be said for the town of Selsey, near Chichester, where a plethora of small shops has learnt to co-exist with and possibly embrace a medium-sized supermarket chain in the middle of its high street.

If we are right and there is a movement back towards the small shopkeeper and service with the personal touch, then we need to make sure we do all we can to keep them thriving.

And there’s no better way of doing that than by signing our petition today calling on the government to overhaul the unfair business rating system which is crippling independent traders.

Read our feature on pages 8 and 9 to discover how you can help cut the number of empty shops and, hopefully, persuade the government to charge rates based on how much shops sell.

You could be in on the start of a retail revolution.