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Are there development opportunities on the High Street?

We’ve all seen the demise of some major retailers as High Street shopping moves increasingly online. The image of boarded-up shops and empty city centre streets is a powerful one and clearly more needs to be done to rejuvenate and re-model town centres.

Maplin, HMV, Mothercare, Poundworld and New Look, to name a few, have closed stores leaving large vacant premises, but more and more developers are eyeing these up for turning into offices or residential accommodation. There should also be a case for developers to offer mixed-use facilities that could include a café or a general store to cater for residents.  

Converting retail to housing

Converting retail units to housing would be most popular where residential values are higher than retail potential. So there could be opportunities where there is a lack of housing in general. There could also be development opportunities in towns and cities with an excess of empty shops and offices, but high demand for housing to accommodate the demand for city living.

Under Permitted Development Rights (“PDR”) some types of commercial property can be converted to residential without the need for full planning permission

With many cities now focusing on public transport for inner city commuters and suburban house prices on the rise, the increase in the number of flats in city centres is a desirable one for urban professionals who don’t want or need to own cars as they live near to their place of work.

Finance for shop conversions

For financing a conversion there are a number of hurdles to overcome for the project to be workable as local councils can have a wide range of opinions on the aesthetics of the property and its architecture, as well as looking at the logistics of changing the use such as access to the property, safety and energy efficiency of the building. If the property is to become and HMO then a licence will also be needed from the council.

Short term finance is available from our extensive lender panel to quickly acquire the property and start the conversion works. We can also help with sourcing longer term commercial finance to align with your business plan for the project and the likely income to be generated.

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