THERE is nothing more depressing than the sight of a high street with dozens of empty retail shops that are not only unsightly but make the shops that are still in business look shabby and uninviting.

If the government is serious about breathing life into town centres that have all the appearance of a war zone, then it should be made compulsory for the landlords of vacant or empty premises to dress the windows in an attractive manner that does not detract from neighbouring businesses.

It would cost very little for landlords to employ local art students to decorate (using water-soluble paints) the inside of windows with attractive designs or scenes.

When I was working in San Francisco almost 30 years ago, it was a common practice for university and college students to do so for a very reasonable fee – that included washing off the paint once the premises were let.

Who wants to spend time shopping on a street where half, if not more, of the shops look like something one would expect to see in a war-torn town in the middle east?


Norwich Avenue West, Bournemouth