By Altus Group | July 16, 2018

Villages, towns and cities the length and breadth of England and Wales have changed dramatically over the last 8 years, new research has revealed.

Whilst the demand and requirement for property by both the public and private sectors is changing as the need for space is reevaluated, overall, the number of properties liable for business rates has risen from 1.83 million to 2.03 million since 2010 according to real estate advisor, Altus Group.

Despite the increase in numbers overall, dramatic changes to communities are taking place as space is being repurposed.

Analysis of official Government data by Altus Group reveals that during the last 8 years, there has been a net loss of 1,500 banks and building societies, 5,648 small shops, 7,036 pubs, 835 post offices and 756 petrol stations.

Betting shops, bingo halls and large department stores also saw their numbers fall.

Altus Group says that there has also been a loss of public services to communities as 463 Police Stations, 226 Libraries and 115 Council run Swimming Pools have all “disappeared” too.

The research, which also takes into account all new properties having been built, means that those services and facilities have “disappeared” for good with the properties having been either been demolished or converted into other forms of use.

Altus Group say that the numbers do not include those properties which are vacant and to let.

The casual dinning sector, which hit the buffers earlier this year, with a number of high profile CVAs’, saw their numbers rise by 3,798 whilst the number of cafes increased by 3,078. Hairdressing and beauty salons were up 1,343 in numbers whilst the very large hypermarkets and superstores operated by the Big 4 were up 337.

Robert Hayton, Head of Property Tax at Altus Group, said: “What we are witnessing is a repurposing of surplus commercial space. Over the coming months and years ahead, as retailers reduce their store portfolios, there will be an increase in the intensity of that repurposing.”

“The Government can help support and bolster the retail sector given the structural issues facing our high streets. It is imperative there is a level playing field with the digital economy whilst abolishing downward transitional relief which has denied the retail sector £1 billion in business rates reductions since the 2017 rates revaluation came into effect.”


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