Is Deal really Britain’s best High Street?

Yesterday I visited Deal, voted Britain’s best High Street by Bill Grimsey and the Telegraph. It’s a good enough town centre, clean and tidy, although not especially busy on a wet Saturday afternoon.

It’s a long, meandering street which seems to run roughly parallel to the seashore, but doesn’t link to it at any point. It’s almost like it’s trying to pretend the beach isn’t there. There’s little to make the town centre legible.

There are some high-end independents alongside the usual suspects like Iceland, The Original Factory Shop, Savers and Poundland. There are also lots of charity shops, mainly the clone-town chains. All in all, it feels rather jumbled. There are some good shops, and lots of very ordinary ones; but I can’t see anything radical, inspiring or edgy that suggests what tomorrow’s town centre might look like.

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