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Are Shopping Centres Facing A Brighter Future?

Are Shopping Centres Facing A Brighter Future?

25.09.19

Despite government backing, the amount of retail property conversions to residential use, has declined by 17% over the last year in England, according to new figures.

The amount of shop conversions are incredibly low, despite struggles on the high street and the like for the retail industry. According to a report by private wealth law firm, Boodle and Hatfield, some councils have alarmingly started to restrict conversions. Therefore, the amount of retail properties approved for conversion to residential property has dropped 17% from 453 in 2017/2018 to just 376 in 2018/2019, the research reveals.

Boodle and Hatfield state that this drop in the number of retail to residential conversions is particularly worrying given the sharp increase in vacant retail space over the last few years.

In April 2019 the town centre retail vacancy rate hit 10, the highest since April 2015, British Retail Consortium data shows.

Converting tertiary retail into residential property has been proposed as a solution for both the problem of long term empty retail units and the increasing demand for residential property.  Adding to the frustration, Savills cites that even by 2021, only 260,000 new homes are likely to have been built, short of the government’s 300,000 target.

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