Do we need to build more #highstreet shops…?

… or at least create more spaces for them.🛍️

And do we need re-adjust the regulations to help #retail…?

No wait. Before you start to wonder if I’ve had too much of the holiday rum & raisin ice cream🍦

The questions are sparked by a series of comments from #property and #placemaking colleagues which I’ve weaved into a narrative, so thank you to all of them for the inspiration. I have tho taken out location mentions to focus just on the message, but it’s important to emphasise the potential case being made here only applies to some places, not everywhere.


🔑 “One challenge is that we do really have enough #hospitality venues now, so there’s a need to try and encourage actual shops – which can be hard in a small but expensive city…creating affordable units in suitable sizes is key.”

We “need to try and encourage actual shops”, and it’s not the only time I’ve heard that this week.

But why…? Here’s a retailer’s agent perspective…

💷 “F&B brands paying high rents and offering a long term commitment etc. We can’t get anywhere near what these guys offer.”

And that’s backed up by two more comments, one that suggests part of the issue is the change of use class regulation which tipped shops into a much bigger group of use types than before…

🍟 “The past couple of years have seen significant demand from QSR (quick service restaurant) operators for prime High Streets, following changes to planning rules in 2020, whereby they can acquire units previously unattainable under the old use classes.”

So partly regulation, but maybe also this helps explain the lesser share going to new shops…

⚖️ “I think it’s more we are not really seeing the enquiries. Perhaps the demand isn’t there in all centres. In an ideal world a bit of balance would really help our centres thrive. Of course we don’t live in that ideal world.”

And if we are to try adjust that balance, here’s more on the how:

🧵“Businesses need to work with Councils, landlords and law makers to bring empty units back into use. Subdivision is going to be crucial in creating units of a size that independent businesses can and will be able to rent.”

Interesting, huh.

So back to the questions: Are there really brand and #indie retail businesses keen to get spaces that can’t…? Does that matter…? Is it just how competition works…? Or are policy change and an adjusted approach needed…? 🪜

🤔 It’d be great to hear what you think…!

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