HIGH STREET IS DEAD …. LONG LIVE THE HIGH STREET
Almost every day we are faced with another horror story regarding the death of one of the UK’s economic institutions – the High Street. We hear reports and can all witness examples of previously much-loved city centres being turned into zombie – no go zones.
2018 has been dubbed – “the year of the CVA”. Company Voluntary Arrangements were intended to be a process of allowing creditors to voluntarily decide to support the restructuring of a business. However, the legislation has been taken advantage of, with, in many cases, Landlords of shop premises being outvoted by a majority (at least 75%) of unsecured creditors. Present examples include House of Fraser and Homebase. Already in 2018 we have seen a number of household names like Toys R Us, Claire’s, New Look, Mothercare, Carluccio’s, Jamie’s Italian, Prezzo and many more call time and use the CVA route. Retailers and restaurants blame the internet, consumer confidence, Brexit, the weak pound/rising costs of importing their stock for the failure of their businesses. Unless Landlords and Tenants adapt to the new modern era, then we could be witnessing the death of the High Street.
We are at a watershed moment in the evolution of the way city centres and prime shopping locations operate. It can be compared to the industrial revolution in Victorian times. High Streets will change – they will adapt – they will become places where people want to spend quality time and experience a wide range of services – have a coffee, have a meal, watch a film, shop in a variety of interesting retail outlets in an authentic location – easy to get to by all means of transport – not just the car.
In Lincoln we have a scheme which is setting the new standard and is being referenced as the new approach to sustainable city centre development. We have the answer on our doorstep – www.cornhillquarter.co.uk. The age of the Landlord and Tenant working in tandem and delivering more than a shopping experience is upon us – High Streets will undoubtedly contract but will flourish again once the sector has “rebooted”.