It’s with a heavy heart that we bring you today’s story about North End.
What was once a thriving high street in one of Portsmouth’s major shopping areas is now very much on its uppers.
McDonald’s, NatWest, HSBC and KFC have all left the area and the big Co-op will close before the end of the year.
All this sends out a message – and it’s not a positive one.
So we’re right behind the shop owners who are calling for help.
They want the landlords of the properties to step in and give them a break, with the aim of getting the shops up to scratch and more people to take on empty ones.
Shop owner Simon Bratby warns that there may only be five more years of life in shopping in North End before it’s lost for good.
This may sound melodramatic, but if anyone’s got a true feeling as to what’s going on it’s a business owner.
To see North End lost for good would be a significant blow to the community.
A thriving shopping area reflects well on the area.
It helps house prices, jobs and pride.
And it offers a vital lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable, many of whom may not see another person from day to day if they didn’t visit shops.
When those shops are gone, it can be the beginning of a downward spiral where one empty shop leads to another and another and then another.
Everyone loses – the business owners, the landlords and the community.
So we hope in this case that landlords and the council do find a way to help.
It would be a sorry state of affairs if the situation was left to worsen.