New Economic Foundation brands Huddersfield a “clone town”
Sep 15 2010 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
“Other initiatives that have been going on for some time include using units in the Packhorse Centre for community uses – such as Breastfeeding Week, a Rotary bookshop and a police drop-in centre – which has proved to be a really beneficial use for both the Packhorse and the community.”
Ms Burger said many of the initiatives run by the Huddersfield Town Centre Partnership Ltd were aimed specifically at supporting the independents – such as the Huddersfield Magazine, the Food and Drink Festival and promotions for Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day.
She added: “All these sorts of services to help the independents are vital if the town is to escape from Clone Town Britain.Š
“All the work that town centre management do is focused around the independents and how we can strengthen the offer in the town.Š
“We are fortunate that we have a good range of high-quality independent businesses in the town who care passionately about Huddersfield.”
Report co-author Paul Squires explained: “A home town is a place which has an individual character and is instantly recognisable and distinctive to the people who live there.
“By contrast, a clone town has had its individuality removed and replaced by a monochrome strip of global and national chains and could easily be mistaken for dozens of other bland town centres across the country.
“In between lie the ‘border towns’ at risk of the clone town fate, yet hanging on to a semblance of individuality.”
He said: “Whether a town feels like a clone town or a home town says something very specific about the health of a local economy. Although apparently economically healthy, clone towns have very little local retail left.
“This means that less money is likely to be circulating in the local economy, the social glue that holds the economy together will be weak and the town is likely to have little left of the enterprise and infrastructure that supports economic resilience.”
The report said 41% of the 117 towns featured were clone towns with a further 23% on the verge of becoming clone towns. Only 36% retained their distinctive character with more than two-thirds of their shops being independents.
Mr Squires said: “The towns most dependent on the big chains and out-of-town stores have proven to be most vulnerable to the economic crisis.”