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Locally Lymington

“Locally Lymington” – a bit of a soap box from Jane!

I used not to like Mary Portas at all, but I’ve been converted to admirer status by her ongoing determination and tenacity to support “The High Street”, in some places against apparently insurmountable odds. 

Actually, I think we’re pretty lucky in Lymington, we’ve got a great community spirit, a hard working Council, and new entities like Town Team and Totally Locally, all working together on behalf of local business and enterprise and to make Lymington an ever better place to live, work, do business and have fun.

Which goes some way to answering Sir Terry Leahy former CEO of Tesco, who also writes about the “High Street” subject (is he poacher turned gamekeeper?!) when he challenges our local shops to make our shopping a pleasurable, social experience.  I really believe that most of our Lymington, Milford, Brockenhurst, Beaulieu shops are already doing it!

Mary says:

“The Internet can never truly replace the sociability and reward you get from doing business with real people”

And that’s the nub of it to me, proven time and again in fact whenever I nip into the High Street.  While online shopping has its place, who really wants to do all, or even most, of their shopping in an online vacuum where there’s no chance for human interaction?  No opportunity to pass the time of day, make the  British comment on the weather, enquire after somebody’s own health or their mother’s, commiserate or congratulate, but generally cheer each other’s day!

“You save so much money online”,  people say.  I don’t believe it actually – in the end you always get what you pay for, and local businesses reward their loyal customers in lots of ways which may not translate directly into pounds - although they often do.  But more importantly the sum of the parts if you count quality personal service and a friendly greeting, often adds up to a much greater whole in terms of our wellbeing.

 “I don’t have time to go shopping/ my time is too valuable”,  say others. 

Well, it’s their choice and we can all choose.  And  I suppose I can see how/why so many people find it so much more convenient as well as cheaper, to buy books and CD’s online. 

Some of us are prepared to go that extra mile for “local”, others won’t be.  And again, that’s our choice.

Mary again:

“We have a social responsibility to find ways to reinvigorate our local hubs”

In this article Mary was taking to task the large out of town supermarkets, and making the point that if we lose the purpose of the high street, a community loses its heartbeat. 

When it launched last year, Totally Locally Lymington told us that if every adult in the Lymington area spent just £5 per week in their local independent shops instead of online or at the big supermarkets, it would be worth an extra £1.4 million per year going into our local economy.

There was apparently  a national move in the right direction over the 2013 Christmas period,  thanks surely to all the “Locally” campaigning which has been going on throughout the country.  It was reported that  local independents did benefit from a pre Christmas shopping sales boost.  I’m not sure all our Lymington shops feel they individually benefitted though.

In the end, more people will only do more business locally if it’s worth their while:

It’s got to be a win win!

 “Locally” will work because we not only want local shops and facilities to be here to serve us but also, we all want enough to actually use them. 

To sum up, not only must we want the high street to be there, we’ve also got to want to use it – and, do so!

And that’s the purpose of this section of Lymington Life – it’s not just about the High Street of course, but a showcase for all things “locally”.

Reviews and views about local business

Once we’ve got the new lymington.com business directory up and running and working with all the new functionality offered by the new listings, we’re going to introduce a “Reviews” facility too.  You’ll be invited to make your constructive comments about local restaurants, shops and businesses, on lymington.com.  A kind of very local Trip Advisor!  All criticism to be constructive – our policy is positivity!

Meanwhile, if you’ve got something to say about all this please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – we’ll publish interesting, constructive, comments with great pleasure starting now,  in this section of Lymington Life!

Jane Porter,  March 2014

With references from:

Telegraph Saturday/Weekend – Sat 20 April 2013 and Sat 23 November 2013

Telegraph Saturday/Magazine – Sat 9 March 2013 and Sat 16 March 2013

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