A few years ago the Gloucester Road was labeled “the last great British High Street" by Mark Rowe in the Independent (August 2004). And it’s true that its independent shops and cafes serve our local community in a way that is rare now in a country dominated by supermarkets and shopping malls.
Being local means
- that many of us can do all our shopping without using a car
- that the shops are owned by local people and profits go to them rather than to chains
- that produce and goods have not been transported long distances
- that key services are easily accessible
Possibly too that shopping is a more enjoyable and safer experience because of the familiar faces.
The Green Party in Bristol supports and encourages this kind of localness. “Think global, act local” is one of the key points in the Party’s plan for the city and wherever Green councillors have been elected they have promoted local shops and post offices and local food; and shown they have an understanding of the global forces which can make life so difficult for local traders. We need now to use this knowledge and experience to start thinking about some of the threats to the Gloucester Road and how these might be responded to.