The impact of a year of the coronavirus pandemic is plain to see on Bromley High St, where more than 20 retail units lie empty.

Research by the Local Data Company found a net total of 4,690 high street chain store outlets permanently closed across Britain in 2020.

Non-essential shops have been forced shut on three occasions since March 2020, when the first lockdown was announced.

After reopening on June 15, November again saw them close for a month.

Little over a month after they reopened on December 2, a lengthy lockdown saw shutters fall until April 12.

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The north end of the high street has a dense concentration of empty units, a few of which looked to have been neglected for a while.

Tunnel discount shoe store has been closed for a few years. The empty retail unit's front has been decorated by graffiti artists Nathan Bowen and Harry Blackmore. 

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Bromley's Fujifilm photo store is currently available to let, while Trendy Shoes at 181 also lies empty. 

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The Royal Bell, a 17th century landmark, remains closed, although an ambitious plan was approved in 2018 for new owners, Hillman & Sons, to turn the Grade II listed building into a hotel.

The lower level will open as an independently run craft bar serving real ale, craft gin and fine wine called The Bell Tap. 

It is also hoped the rear area of the building will also be used for music events in the first-floor ballroom.

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All TopShop stores closed earlier this year as Arcadia was sold off to Asos. 

Phillip Green's empire collapsed into insolvency at the start of December 2020 after pandemic closures further exacerbated the group’s troubles.

Even before coronavirus, Topshop was struggling against new online-only fashion retailers such as Asos, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing.

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Ikea closed its experimental ‘planning studio’ store on the high street in summer 2020, just over a year after it first opened.

Labelled a ‘planning studio’, the Bromley unit was a cut-down version of Ikea’s full-size retail sheds and was part of an experimental push to test different retail formats.

The Swedish company said the closure was unrelated to the pandemic and was specific to the unit and its location. 

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Plans to transform the pedestrianised middle of the high street could see a large sculpture named the ‘Time Machine’, a water fountain and canopy built in an effort to boost footfall. 

The council funded project, designed by Turner Works, aims to enhance the “experiential offer of the High Street” and “strengthen and diversify the daytime and night-time economy”.

The proposals are designed to have a lifespan of about 15 years, playing a significant role in the area for a considerable period.

READ MORE: Plans to transform Bromley High Street with sculpture, fountain and canopy

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Plans to build a a 12-storey tower in place of the former Maplin store at the top of the south end of the high street were rejected in March this year. 

First submitted in 2019, the initial application was for a 20-storey development, which was reduced following consultation.

The application received hundreds of objections, with many fearing the development would dominate the town centre and change the character of the area.

READ MORE: Plans for 12-storey tower on Bromley High Street rejected

Laura Ashley announced the permanent closure of 70 stores in March 2020, as the lockdown exacerbated a downturn in profitability.

The store reopened in June 2020 for an extensive sell-off of remaining stock, but closed for good soon after.

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Closer to Bromley South, there are a few more empty shop fronts, as the high street begins to tail off. 

Adonis, a "high-end barbering and men's grooming service", remains closed but only temporarily as a refurbishment project is ongoing. 

Former health food store MET-RX looks closed for good, with a message reading 'RIP PETER' taped to the front window. 

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