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Town centres have been in decline for a number of years thanks to the rise of online shopping, meaning many retail spaces need repurposing. In the UK it is estimated that 12.5% of retail space is vacant, with 40% of these empty spaces being vacant for more than three years – and predictions show that this number could rise to 25% by 2030 if no action is taken.

Independent developers and retailers will become an important part of the revival of the high street, as they can offer shoppers something more interesting, special and unique. High streets will need to become leisure destinations, filled with restaurants, cafes and pubs, as well as boutiques, specialist retailers, theatres, cinemas and music venues. Independent retailers will be able to create the right atmosphere for visitors and browsers alike, becoming a destination for a day out or an evening’s entertainment.

How To Revive The High Street

Thriving high streets rely on a steady stream of people and a demand for services. Therefore, to make town centres more successful it is important to make them more residential. If more people live in the town centre it automatically drives up demand for local services, such as entertainment venues and convenience stores, as well as restaurants, shops and cafes.

The revival of the town centre is, in fact, a repurposing of the existing structures and buildings, which should be transformed into the right balance of retail, leisure, homes and workspaces. Previously, there have been numerous obstacles and difficulties in turning retail space into residential space due to planning regulations. However, recent changes to planning permissions should make the process much easier.

Changes for Redevelopers

The government has designed Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) to make the process of redevelopment more efficient. PDRs allow certain types of buildings to be changed without requiring a full planning permission application, making it faster and easier for some buildings to be redeveloped.

PDRs are of great interest to property developers and property investors such as Zuneth Sattar, as there are fewer criteria on which the authorities can object to a redevelopment – and there is a short, 56-day objection period in some cases. For further information about why 2021 is a great time for redevelopment projects, please refer to the embedded PDF.

Financing a Property Development or Redevelopment

Developments and redevelopments require a great deal of capital investment, which can come in many forms. Financing most often comes as a short-term loan, yet there are other options available to meet the requirements of the development and the developer.

There are property development finances that have been designed for commercial, residential and mixed-use developments, all of which are tailored to the goals, objectives and financial circumstances of the individual project. Amongst the most common property development finances are commercial mortgages, 100% joint venture finance, portfolio finance, bridging finance, and auction finance.

Once the scale and scope of the project has been established, it is possible to find the right funding solution, whether it is short-term borrowing, joint venture financing, or bridging and auction finance. Each funding type gives the borrower the ability to access a larger sum of money, enabling them to tackle bigger projects and resulting in greater growth for their business.