The New Economics Foundation released the Clone Town Britain report today, which judges national high streets and London ‘villages’ by the number of global and national chain stores on them. Exeter is the worst in Britain, Wimbledon the worst in London.
Predictably, the focus is on North and West London. It’s a shame, as I think Camberwell would have come out quite well had it been included in this report; there are still a large number of independent shops and the chains are at a minimum — although it’s not really a high street.
Clone stores have a triple whammy on communities: they bleed the local economy of money, destroy the social glue provided by real local shops that holds communities together, and they steal the identity of our towns and cities.
Which was kind of the point I tried to make in my earlier post; by shopping locally (where we can), we keep the heart of Camberwell active and the identikit chains at bay. And that’s not to say that things can’t be improved (less fast food shops and more fresh produce would be a start), just that it’s nicer to eat at Tadim than it is at Subway.