What do we - that is, we the people, not we the omnisicent planners - want the ~High Streets of the future to be like?
We dunno, you dunno and the government doesn’t know either. Therefore it’s a bit odd to be spending money on it:
More struggling high streets will be turned into modern community hubs or redeveloped as 50 more towns have been given the right to bid for a share of a £1 billion Government fund.
The 50 towns - from Dudley to Dover and Scarborough to Stockport - will join 50 successful areas already shortlisted to develop plans to reinvent their high streets.
Boris Johnson said: “Our high streets are right at the heart of our communities, and I will do everything I can to make sure they remain vibrant places where people want to go, meet and spend their money.
“But with our town centres facing challenges, we’re today expanding the High Streets Fund to support over 100 high streets to regenerate.....
Which is where the mistake is. What happens next depends upon how people decide to use the now redundant retail space. It is emergent from the experimentation and voluntary interaction. It’s simply not something that we can plan.
Nor, obviously, is it something we need to pay for. If we simply relax the current rules about how property uses may change then we’ll fine out what it is that people wish to do. The High Street of the future becomes something that will happen by allowing people to create it, not paying anyone to stop it happening.
Our task is not to do something, it’s to prevent government from stopping it happening. Fortunately, something which is rather cheap. Also, laissez faire will be more successful than blowing a billion pounds on something we’ve no idea how to do and don;t even know if people want to happen.