RSPH has published a league table ranking 70 of Britain’s major towns and cities by the impact of their high streets on the public’s health and wellbeing.
The rankings, based on the prevalence of different types of businesses found in the towns’ main retail areas, see Grimsby rated as having the unhealthiest high street, with Edinburgh coming out as the healthiest. This ranking excludes London high streets, which have been ranked separately. See full top and bottom 10 below.
The league table features in the new RSPH report, Health on the High Street: Running on empty, which follows on from the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of a package of measures designed to reinvigorate the nation’s High Streets. This is a follow up report to the original RSPH Health on the High Street published in 2015, and assesses changes in British retail areas over the past three years.
The report updates the methodology used in 2015, to reflect the changing face of the British high street, adding off-licences and empty shops to the negative influences on health, and cafes and vape shops to the positive influences.
The top 10 “unhealthiest” British high streets were ranked as:
The top 10 “healthiest” British high streets were ranked as:
Brighton & Hove
Average life expectancy for people living in areas with the top 10 healthiest high streets is two and a half years longer than for those in the 10 unhealthiest ranked areas.
Changes to British high streets that have influenced the rankings include:
A growth in the number of fast food shops by 4,000 between 2014 and 2017, especially in the most deprived areas, which now have five times more fast food shops than the most affluent areas;
The number of vape shops has doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 in the past three years;
The high street vacancy rate has increased from below 7% in 2007 to 11% in 2017.
RSPH is now calling for a range of measures to make British high streets more health-promoting, including:
The Treasury to review how businesses taxes are determined to ensure high street shops are not put at an unfair disadvantage compared to online retailers; RSPH polling suggests this is a measure which has widespread public backing with three quarters (75%) believing that business rates should not put high street retailers at an unfair advantage compared to online.
Facebook and Google to provide discounted advertising opportunities to independent health-promoting businesses.
Local authorities to make records on vacant commercial properties publicly accessible, supporting ‘meanwhile use’ of vacant shops to keep high streets vibrant.
All vape shops to ensure all customers who smoke are aware of their local stop smoking service.
Gavin Stewart, CEO of the Brighton City Centre Business Improvement District said, “This is a great recognition for the work we do every day to make Brighton city centre a better pace to live, work in and visit. The city has largely bucked the national trend in retail vacancy rates since the financial crisis in 2008 and our vibrant independent retail and leisure sector is second to none in the UK. We will continue to support our local business base to ensure that Brighton & Hove remains one of the top places to invest in the country; helping to create a distinctive, sustainable and now healthy city for years to come.”