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Canterbury high street ranked second healthiest in Britain by Royal Society for Public Health

By Jack Dyson

Canterbury's high street has been ranked the second healthiest in Britain.

The city was pipped to first place by Edinburgh in a league table published by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).

The rankings rated 70 towns in terms of the impact their high streets have had on wellbeing.

The RSPH regarded cafes and vape shops as positive influences on high streets, while off-licences, takeaways and empty stores are believed to have a negative impact.

Lisa Carlson, the chief executive of the Canterbury Business Improvement District (BID), says the city is an attractive place for retailers to set up shop.

"Canterbury is a fantastic place and we have the potential to remain so," she said.

"It's a vibrant place. We have beautiful hanging baskets, Christmas lights and open space. It's just a lovely place to be."

Canterbury high street
Canterbury high street

Ms Carlson added that the city has relatively few vacant shops and that work is being done by BID to lower it further.

"It's a rapidly changing time for retail, and Canterbury is not immune to it," she said.

"However, we've always had a relatively low vacancy rate in comparison to the rest of the country.

"In terms of the vacant premises that we have, BID has been in discussions with Nasons to help it with its boarded up windows and we meet regularly with landlords, agents and developers."

Canterbury BID boss Lisa Carlson (4502057)
Canterbury BID boss Lisa Carlson (4502057)

Average life expectancy for those living in the 10 healthiest is two-and-a-half years longer than in the bottom 10.

It has urged the Treasury to review how business rates are determined to ensure traders and online retailers are treated equally.

This comes after it found that the shop vacancy rates across Britain's high streets has increased by 4% over the last decade.

The RSPH also says there are now 4,000 more fast food restaurants than in 2014.

Grimsby was ranked the unhealthiest town in Britain, and it was joined in the bottom 10 by the likes of Walsall, Blackpool, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland.

The top 10, on the other hand, also included Taunton, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham, York and Brighton and Hove.

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