Postcode checker: how has your High Street changed since 2020? – BBC

Beauty salons and tattoo parlours have prospered on High Streets while the number of banks and department stores has fallen, BBC analysis shows.
Places to eat and drink have also increased – despite social distancing.
To find out how the High Streets and shopping areas near you have changed since the beginning of the pandemic, type in your postcode below.
Please use a modern browser to see an interactive map showing high streets in your area.
If you can't view the postcode lookup, click here. For further detail on the Ordnance Survey data used in the postcode search above, please see full methodology at the bottom of the page.
The full extent of changes to Britain's High Streets after two years of Covid lockdowns and trading restrictions is revealed in data from Ordnance Survey.
Overall, there were 9,300 fewer retail outlets in March 2022 than March 2020, as shoppers switched to online stores.
The findings illustrate the changing face of the British High Street from a place to buy things to a place to do stuff – like get your nails done and meet friends for a coffee or a cocktail.
The figures are revealed by BBC analysis of 1.5 million records contained in the Ordnance Survey's "Points of Interest" mapping data, a comprehensive quarterly survey of businesses, facilities and services operating in England, Scotland and Wales.
Debenhams and Beales were among the landmark High Street retailers to close their doors during the pandemic, contributing to a 13.4% drop in department stores across Great Britain. Two years on from the first lockdown in 2020, there were 328 fewer such stores.
Kendal in Cumbria was one of the towns to lose its Beales store, now boarded up. But developer Geri Ward has begun turning the building into what she calls a celebration of Cumbria.
"This town was dying when Beales closed, people stopped coming here," she says, standing in the old perfume hall as a workman rips a Chanel sign from the wall.
"We are a traditional nation of small shopkeepers. We decided we would provide more of a location where tourists and locals can come to with smaller, independent retailers inside – the fantastic artisans, the entrepreneurs, the producers of Cumbrian food."
The number of clothes shops operating in Britain is down 4,300, a fall of 8.5%. The collapse of the Arcadia retail empire in 2020 saw Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Topshop and Miss Selfridge all disappear from our shopping streets.
More than 800 High Street banks and building societies closed their doors during the pandemic (-8.1%) along with the loss of more than 6,000 cash machines (-13.2%).
The changes suggest the pandemic accelerated the move away from physical cash-based retail to card-based online shopping.
High Streets and shopping centres have become a magnet for hair and beauty services in the past few years – an additional 5,100 premises now operate compared with pre-pandemic – an increase of 5.9%.
In the G1 and G2 postcodes of central Glasgow, hair and beauty services are now the most prevalent type of shop – overtaking pubs and bars which were the most prevalent in March 2020.
Tattoo parlours and piercing studios have proved particularly popular with 350 more in March this year than before the Covid restrictions, a rise of 8.2%. Many areas have acquired one for the first time.
Sheffield had 15 more tattoo parlours in March 2022, Kingston upon Hull had 11 more, while Stockport and Cornwall each had an extra 10. South Lakeland, straddling the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, had more than twice as many as pre-Covid – up from four salons to 10.
There are half a dozen tattooists operating in Kendal. Tony Davis is the artist at Samsara in the High Street.
"You can't get a tattoo online. If you want a tattoo you've got to go to a tattoo parlour," he says. "Our industry is definitely mainstream now and if you go to some cities in England there are three, four, five, six studios down the same street."
The town mayor, Doug Rathbone, agrees that service-based businesses are transforming the High Street experience.
"It's about not just shopping, it's about going to the shops and having a cup of coffee as well, popping into various different places," he says. "It is so important that we celebrate and do something about the vitality of our town centres and High Streets."
However, High Streets and shopping areas appear to be evolving into more service and hospitality-based venues. And despite the restrictions of lockdowns and social distancing rules, eating and drinking establishments saw growth of almost 4%.
The Ordnance Survey data found 700 more pubs and bars were operating after the pandemic. There were also 2,000 more cafes or tea rooms and 4,600 more fast-food outlets.
The great British chippie proved its popularity during Covid – 300 more fish and chip shops were operating in March this year than two years earlier.
The government announced a number of financial support schemes for the hospitality and leisure sectors during the Covid pandemic, helping them survive the loss of trade during coronavirus restrictions. As well as "eat out to help out", the Treasury introduced a temporary business rates relief package and other measures.
Not all hospitality thrived, however. There were almost 150 fewer nightclubs post-pandemic – a fall of one in 10 – as an already-declining sector was hit by social distancing rules.
Food shops did well over the pandemic.
Independent convenience stores increased by 1,600, a rise of almost 3%. The big supermarket chains operated 194 more stores by the end of the Covid restrictions, up 2.5%. There was a similar rise in the number of organic and other speciality food shops.
In Kendal, a new local butcher has recently opened. Owner Robert Unwin says business is good because he offers a service you cannot get online.
"It's the little advice you give," he says. "All I think about is meat, literally. A lot of people want quality but they don't really know what exactly they're looking for."
The data highlights regional and local differences in the resilience of High Streets and town centres.
Scotland saw the largest growth in eating and drinking outlets, with a rise of 6%. In north-west and north-east England, the increase was around 5%. The south-west of England and Wales saw the lowest increases in eating and drinking businesses.
The variation is even more marked at local authority level. For example, Oxford saw close to a 9% fall in retail while Gravesham in Kent experienced a 6% increase.
East Dunbartonshire, Barnsley and Knowsley each saw a big rise in eating and drinking establishments, up more than 15%. The number of eating and drinking establishments on Shetland fell by more than a fifth (21.3%), while Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales experienced a 10% reduction.
Jamie Howe is Cumbria's surveyor for Ordnance Survey. He walks the county's streets to measure changes in the landscape or amenities – sometimes to the nearest centimetre. He says he has seen significant changes, for better and worse.
"A lot of shops have been closing down, but lots of other shops and local community shops have been opening up. Coffee shops, breweries, hair and beauty – and maybe the community has come closer together because of these changes."
Produced by Will Dahlgreen, Nassos Stylianou, Daniel Dunford, Callum May and Mark Easton.
Design by Jana Tauschinski and Lilly Huynh.
Development by Scott Jarvis, Alex Nicolaides, Assiz Periera, Alex Nicholas, Zoe Thomas, Kieran Crowley, Arun Bhari, Marcos Gurgel and Toby Cox.
Editing by Sarah Bell.
The data is a combination of two datasets from Ordnance Survey (OS).
To report which businesses have opened and closed we have used the Points of Interest dataset.
This is a comprehensive, location-based directory of all public and privately-owned businesses, education and leisure services in England, Scotland and Wales. Points of Interest contains over four million records and is updated four times a year. The BBC has analysed data from a selected number of categories within the Points of Interest database.
For the purpose of this research we have used one data release in March 2020 and one in March 2022, to give a snapshot of the points of interest across Great Britain that were active at those times.
For the interactive postcode look-up, to report the number of businesses on 10 of the High Streets and shopping areas close to the postcode entered, we have used the OS Retail Geographies dataset.
This is an experimental dataset from the Ordnance Survey describing the geography of shopping across Great Britain. It clusters retail areas using street names and includes local High Streets, retail parks and shopping centres. Longer streets are divided into smaller sections where there is a change of road name or retail addresses are more then 150m apart. The resulting clusters must also meet the minimum threshold of 15 retail addresses for highly populated urban areas and five retail addresses for smaller rural areas.
To find the 10 nearest shopping areas to the postcode you have entered, we have chosen the 10 where the middle of the box surrounding the area is closest to the centre point of the postcode boundary as the crow flies. There may be some streets that are very close to the postcode, but do not quite fit this criteria; or there may be some which are very close as the crow flies as we have defined it, but may not be the easiest to travel to.
Everywhere else that we have reported the number of businesses, we have counted the number of points from the Points of Interest dataset that fall within the relevant geographic area, regardless of whether they fall within a street as defined by the Retail Geographies dataset.
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