Can we beat the High Street blues in Scunthorpe ?
FACED with growing competition from the internet, out of town retail parks and supermarket chains, the High Street has changed significantly over the years.
It has been predicted by insolvency firm Begbies Traynor that as many as 140 firms could fold this year across Britain, putting the future of thousands of jobs nationwide in doubt.
But shoppers and traders in Scunthorpe still believe the High Street is important.
Shopper Sheila Cullen, 56, said: "I think the High Street does have a place in society, just not in the way it used to.
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"Before, you would come out shopping here and buy everything that you needed. There was not really anywhere else to go.
"But now, you could nip to Tesco or Asda once a week and get everything you could possibly need in one place.
"Or you can log on to the internet and not even have to leave the house."
The proposed development at the Stephen Smith Garden Centre on Doncaster Road, which would include Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Boots, has seen the campaign group Keep Scunthorpe Alive question the impact the new stores will have on the High Street's future.
Now shoppers say further measures are needed on issues such as parking to safeguard the High Street's future.
Susan Hitchen, 52, said: "Parking is a massive issue.
"If there is nothing here for people to come here for, then why would they pay when it is free elsewhere?
"The High Street used to have lots of jobs for people.
"I don't think we will ever get back to that stage, but the High Street is needed. It is part of the community."
Brian Cowan, 58, said: "It has changed a lot, but that just reflects buying habits.
"People are not coming to town to do their weekly shop, they are coming here for bits and bobs and a sandwich at lunchtime."
The Telegraph has backed the High Street with the Buy Local campaign, as well as the Go To Town initiative, which has offered free parking to customers.
Matthew Stephenson, owner of Celebrate on Robert Street, Scunthorpe, said his store will survive because they have found a niche market.
The store sells specialised goods imported from America, including candy.
Mr Stephenson said: "We found a niche market and if you are lucky enough to do that, you can survive.
"I believe you have to find something unique."