Editor’s comment: Which shops are the gems on our high streets?

The Launderette in England's Lane has been given a reprieve. Picture: MICHAEL BONIFACE

The Launderette in England's Lane has been given a reprieve. Picture: MICHAEL BONIFACE - Credit: Archant

I share many of our readers’ concerns about the risk of shops disappearing from our high streets and it is good to hear that Launderette in England’s Lane, Belsize Park, has won a reprieve (Ham&High).

It seems the local service is much needed in the area, and I hope a way can be found for it to continue.

That is not to say that Artichoke would not have been a great addition to the area. I've heard very good things about the Hampstead business and hopefully it can find appropriate premises for successful expansion.

In recent decades the trend away from independent stores seemed to drift into a trend for out-of-town retail parks - and all the while online shopping was ballooning.

There is probably no turning back from that entirely, but two things appear clear to me.

One is that local shops are an essential part of our communities and how we interact with other people.

For some, the local shopkeeper may be the only person they speak to each day. Losing this could pose a serious social problem.

Most Read

Second is that given the climate crisis we face, it surely cannot be sustainable for us to rely on a million Amazon delivery drivers criss-crossing the world bearing individually over-packaged items?

I've been back in north London for six weeks now and am looking forward to exploring our local businesses.

- Send me an email ato let me know the hidden gems I really shouldn't miss.

The swimming ponds at Hampstead Heath are an important part of life in the area, and given how many people taking a dip, it seems wise to review arrangements for their use.

- Let us know what you think of the ponds, and what improvements could be made, by writing in to our letters page or emailing our reporter Sam Volpe