What price do we put on keeping our high streets?

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Trying to second-guess what will help bring shoppers back to the high street is a thankless task.

With the lure of the internet and improving delivery services, the convenience of sitting at home and ordering goods from your living room is tough to beat.

But many of us still like to go out and see what we’re buying first-hand, or talk with informed shop staff rather than just read online reviews before parting with our hard-earned cash.

As already reported in The News, North End in Portsmouth is one of many high streets that is struggling to deal with the current economic climate, and pledges have been made to help it.

But there is a certain sense of irony that the move implemented to help improve access for shoppers – widened pavements – is what is now being blamed for reducing trade due to a loss of parking space.

And the Conservative-run council says that putting the road back the way it was before the Lib Dem-implemented changes will actually cost more than it did to install the pavements in the first place. This is money the council is saying it hasn’t got.

Council leader Donna Jones has previously said it is ‘committed to making improvements’ wherever it can.

But this will ring hollow to traders still waiting to see any changes on the ground to help improve their lot.

Talk of district shopping centres as ‘the vibrant heart’ of an area is all well and good, but businesses will need to see change soon if their fortunes stand any chance of reversal.

Of course councils only have a finite pot of money to play with.

But what price do we put on maintaining our once-thriving shopping centres?