The term 'ghost town Britain' has been used by the media to sum up the decline of the local community - particularly through the closure or loss of facilities such as post offices, pubs, shops, doctors' surgeries and bus services. But this decline isn't just confined to isolated rural areas.
The spread of 'ghost town Britain' extends to towns and villages across the country and even to our capital, where local shops have been forced out of business by large supermarkets that are piling on the pressure.
However, there is a growing tide of opposition to this decline. People are voicing their concerns and doing something to stop the rot. Just a few weeks ago, 1,000 campaigners converged on London to listen to speakers, including David Cameron, talk passionately about stopping the spread of ghost towns.
The campaigners met at Central Hall in Westminster to voice their support for a parliamentary Bill brought by Nick Hurd, Tory MP for Ruislip-Northwood that would allow councils to direct cash towards struggling facilities such as post offices and independent shops.
The Sustainable Communities Bill was introduced to parliament on the premise that local economic needs must be served ahead of wider interests. It was designed to restore the fortunes of ailing high streets and give local authorities power to challenge government spending plans. It would also ensure that local people could block the closure of vital amenities.
So far the Bill has received the support of 80 groups including Age Concern, the Campaign for Real Ale, Help the Aged, the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters and the National Federation of Women's Institutes.
At the heart of the Bill has been the decline of independent village shops - an issue close to our hearts at Musgrave Group.
At our independently owned local Budgens and Londis stores, we have seen the positive contribution a store brings to the community - from supporting local producers to creating vibrant, sustainable, economic infrastructures that encourage local trade and sharing of vital local information and news.
Responsibility is core to this success. We must give local communities the power to think and act independently. Through our Musgrave Group network of independent retail partners, we have seen the positive effects of giving responsibility to local businesses. They have become the real ghost-busters.
Ghost town Britain was first identified by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in 2002 when it launched its first report into the decline of local neighbourhood shops and services.
The report revealed some startling figures. Between 1995 and 2000, the UK lost 20% of some of its most vital institutions - corner shops, grocers and post offices - amounting to a cumulative loss of more than 30,000 local outlets.
A year later, NEF launched its second report - Ghost Town Britain II: Death on the High Street. It showed that the decline of local high streets had "continued apace", resulting in more local job losses, less support for suppliers and less consumer choice.
As Hurd said: "The Sustainable Communities Bill would give people greater influence over decisions that affect their quality of life.
"It will give local authorities more ammunition to level the playing field for those local services that are hubs of communities, and which we want to stand the test of time."
If you agree, write to your local MP and ask them to support the Bill.