The continued decline of bricks-and-mortar banks is leaving vast empty space on the high street.
This is particularly damaging to the elderly, who rely on high street banks to conduct their finances, with 88% of over-65s exclusively using in-person banking.
One way of mitigating the damage would be to transform these empty spaces into community hubs that focus on intergenerational engagement. These newly refurbished high street spaces could offer the elderly financial advice and assistance, while also being somewhere for the young to relax, have a coffee and read a book or work.
We only have to look across the Atlantic to see this in action. Banking group Capital One has opened up high street branches that more resemble cafés than traditional banks. This has encouraged people of all ages to connect and relax, creating a greater sense of community spirit.
We should take inspiration from this and start the process of repurposing our high streets for the community.
Félicie Krikler, director, Assael Architecture