Visage, a boutique shop and familiar store front on the Oxted high street selling luxury fashion items, was forced to close last Saturday, following a struggling period on the high street. On their last day, they offered prosecco and finger food as a thank you to customers for their years of support, as they sold off their remaining stock.

Lynne, owner of the shop, stresses the lack of activity on the high street as the primary reason for the shop’s unfortunate closure. “The rent is too high and we’re not making enough money.” She said bluntly. She pointed out how recent roadworks along the main road has created a parking issue, which was already in an inconvenient situation as a result of the privatisation of the nearby Ellice car park.

Parking has long been an issue in the area, with many high street shops and services complaining that the lack of available parking has affected their businesses.

Lynne, however, feels that the situation will only become worse. The oil tanker which has long plagued the landscape of Oxted, will be finally taken down for new apartments to be built. This, of course, brings more building works to the surrounding area, something that will further affect the high street businesses. The council appears to have approved the apartments without properly consulting the businesses on the high street nor considering the strain on services, such as the GP, which had complained could not cope with the increased intake of people.

Recent efforts to revive the high street have failed, which reflects a trend seen across the country, argued to mainly be the result of the online shopping. Though Lynne does not believe online shopping to be a factor in their closure. “Most of our customers aren’t online shoppers. The parking is a bigger issue.”

Visage’s unfortunate closure reflects how our shopping habits have changed and how businesses are suffering as a result. The high street continues to falter.