Every week there is more gloom for the high street, whether the end of retailers such as Maplins or Toys R Us, the decline of department stores or the retreat of restaurants. And another expert produces a report. The prime minister thinks that turning shops into homes may be an answer, taking away retail floor space and producing cheap homes. Regardless of whether it is possible to create a modern home from the ground floor of a 19th century shop building, built to the back of the pavement with no amenity space and little rear access, is this really a good way to put new life into commercial centres? One lesson we need to learn from the ‘beast from the east’ is that our housing stock is ill-equipped for extremes of weather. Creating more poorly insulated, hard to heat or ventilate homes is perhaps not the most thought through policy … (To read the full article, subscribe below)