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Eight-year low for retail planning applications

Words: Laura Edgar
Oldham / Creative Commons

Planning applications for new shops and shopping centres in England fell to 6,525 in the year March 2017, an eight-year low and nearly half the number of 2008/09, according to property lending platform Lendy.

The statistics show that 7,364 planning applications for shopping premises were submitted in 2014/15 – 11 per cent more than the year ending March 31, 2017.

Greater Manchester saw the greatest fall in retail planning applications last year, with Oldham in last place of 339 local authorities. Only four applications were submitted, down 87 per cent from 30 the previous year.

Stockport is in second to last place with a 71 per cent fall in applications to six, down from 21 in 2015/16.

Lendy said one reason for the decline in new shops and shopping centres being built is the continue move to e-commerce. Brexit could also be forcing retailers to adopt a “cautious approach” as consumer confidence remains low.

Further to this, people looking to invest in commercial property should do so carefully, said Lendy. “Detailed research and effective due diligence is required” to ensure long-term viability.

Liam Brooke, co-founder of Lendy, said: “Retailers are shunning – and shutting – bricks-and-mortar shops; the government needs to find a way to encourage retailers to give the high streets a facelift.

“Greater flexibility on business rates might also slow the rate of insolvencies in the retail sector.

“While the big brands are continuing to shift their focus towards their online services, it is smaller retailers that need funding to get themselves out on to the high street.”

Image credit | Creative Commons