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Norwich’s high street healthier than Ipswich’s, survey reveals

PUBLISHED: 11:23 04 November 2018

A new study of the nation's highstreets has revealed the Norwich has a healthier high street than Ipswich.  
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A new study of the nation's highstreets has revealed the Norwich has a healthier high street than Ipswich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Norwich has a healthier high street than its nearest rival Ipswich, a new national survey has revealed.

But, the report which ranked Norwich above a number of other similar and larger cities, has been criticised by members of the Norwich business community for not considering the individuality and diversity of the city.

The report published by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has ranked the health of the nation’s high streets using a “Richter scale of health” to measure the healthiness of shops and businesses.

Looking at 70 towns and cities across the UK, each location was scored according to the number of businesses which promote healthy or unhealthy living.

Locations with more fast food outlets, bookmakers, off licenses and tanning shops scored lower while pharmacies, health clubs and museums helped to improve high street’s scores.

With number one - Grimsby - being the unhealthiest city and 70 -Edinburgh- the healthiest, Norwich came 41 out of 70, meaning the fine city has a healthier high street than Ipswich which came 28 out of 70.

The survey, which used data collected by the Local Data Company in the six months prior to July 2018 found that Norwich had 125 empty shops within its central shopping area, 181 cafes or coffee shops and 34 fast food outlets.

Stefan Gurney, executive director for Norwich BID said he thought the report raised interesting points about the health of high streets, but used a too “broad brush” approach: “It’s an interesting piece, I think it should be something that raises [the point of] the need for public health and the importance in that companies can have.

“I just think its a broad paint brush of things that apply to a generic high street.”

Using only the primary types of outlet, the survey did not include businesses like street markets, something Mr Gurney said he thought would have improved Norwich’s score.

Nova Fairbank, head of policy, governance and public affairs for Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said: “Whilst Norwich appears mid-table in the Health of the Nations High Street Report, we feel this does not reflect Norwich’s true diversity in terms of retail offering.”

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