The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng talking about the pandemic in an interview with The Times has said the future of the great British high street looks residential.
Kwarteng told The Times: “One of the things I’m very keen that we get our heads around is the whole future of the high street.
“In Staines high street (part of his constituency) for example, in 2010 I can’t think of any flats, whereas now I see lots of places being turned into flats which were originally retail outlets.”
High streets have suffered in recent years and particularly throughout the pandemic, looking a pale imitation of their former pre-pandemic self.
Before the pandemic high streets were already in decline from rent and rates set at unrealistic levels, as a consequence of diminishing levels of footfall. Rateable values not reflecting profitability. It is hard to see how high streets, as was, could return to their former glory, especially as so many hospitality and retail businesses have now closed their high street doors forever.
The high street could be re-invented to incorporate more residential development alongside new hospitality and retail concepts. But urgent rent and rates reviews would need to precede that to justify the investment necessary to initiate.
In a letter to Rishi Sunak before the budget, business leaders from 18 leading retail and property companies, that employ over a million people said that an overhaul of rent and rates was essential to enable high streets and town centres to recover from the pandemic.
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Hospitality & Catering News: Business Minister says the future of the high street is residential. – 6 March 2021 – Business Minister says the future of the high street is residential.
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