Yet another survey has emerged highlighting the good and bad places to live in the UK. This time the Royal Society for Public Health has drawn up a league table of the unhealthiest high streets in the UK and oddly enough Grimsby is ranked No 7. It could be worse I could be from Preston seeing as they hold the dubious honour of being in first place.
So what constitutes an “unhealthy” high street? According to the RSPH it is determined by the types of businesses that are on the high street. Bookmakers, loan shops, tanning salons and fast food outlets are viewed as having a negative impact on public health with the society calling for a 5% limit of each “unhealthy” type of business to avoid saturation. The league table was drawn up based on a scoring system (which presumably only the report’s authors will understand) with businesses promoting healthy choices, social interaction and promoting positive mental well-being receiving the highest rank.
I can hear the arguments, but frankly the demand for retail premises has fallen significantly over the last 10 years, not just as a result of the recession, but as a result of the way in which the Great British public changed their shopping habits. I for one would much rather see a property occupied by a betting shop than remaining boarded up and derelict.
It’s a shame that the report’s authors weren’t at the recent launch of Discover NEL. A promotion of all that is good about North East Lincolnshire and the local authority area of which Grimsby forms a significant part. The event was held at the Humber Royal Hotel at the beginning of March (my invitation arrived safely, thank you). The event was well attended by representatives from business and the public sector and felt like a genuine celebration of all that is good about the community. Discover NEL was delivered by an eclectic group of people representing Visitor Economy, Services and the Retail sectors in North East Lincolnshire. There are some fantastic employment opportunities as a result of the growth of off shore industries, some wonderful housing opportunities, education and leisure. The beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds are only a few minutes away.
So next time someone mentions an unhealthy high street, think about the big name brands in the hugely successful Freshney Place shopping centre, some of the amazing independent boutiques in Abbeygate, old established family businesses with a modern twist such as Hewitts and if you’re after something to eat and drink then try Abbeys. Fantastic accommodation ranging from cosy B&B’s to modern chains. Grimsby really is healthier than you’ve been led to believe.
Take a few minutes and have a look at www.DiscoverNEL.co.uk – it will be time well spent.
Oh, and if you are interested Britain’s Healthiest high street is in Shrewsbury. Now where exactly is Shrewsbury anyway…