While many more independent shops than chain stores are falling victim to the downturn, most of us would choose to reject living near a town with high street brands in favour of locally owned stores and services, according to new research by County Homesearch.

A survey of over 1,000 people reveals that people today desire more independent amenities, with over three in five people choosing independent services when selecting three indicators of an up and coming country town.

When assessing the desirability of an expanding town, the survey shows that a Good Pub Guide recommended inn or a Michelin star restaurant is more sought after than a high street chain bar or restaurant such as Pizza Express.

Independent food shops, particularly delicatessens, organic butchers and patisseries are seen as more indicative of desirable up and coming country towns than chain supermarkets, with certain national brands, such as Asda and Tesco, specifically seen as devaluing an area. However, 63% of the shops that went out of business in 2009 were independent, indicating that the more affordable, better-known option often wins out in reality.

Jonathan Haward, chairman of County Homesearch, comments: ‘The response reveals that people really value access to locally owned and run organisations that offer individuality. This is indicative of a changing attitude to prominent high street brands in Britain, which experienced a surge in popularity in the first half of the decade. Not only do people increasingly see the importance of supporting local businesses throughout the downturn, they also see the presence of independent traditional services as highly desirable in a small town that is beginning to expand.

‘This said, it is only natural that, while many prefer the high street to offer choice and avoid being dominated by the same chain stores, they still appreciate access to a supermarket for convenience and economy and these companies will always have a significant role to play.’