Amid retail decline, the high street may be reborn as housing

No room for retail, but perhaps for housing.

 

A former Freo mayor sent me this thought-provoking article on retail on High Streets. Would have interesting implications for Freo.

http://www.theage.com.au/business/amid-retail-decline-the-high-street-may-be-reborn-as-housing-20130806-2rdb0.html

August 7, 2013

As online retail changes the way people shop, a British government minister has put forward a proposal that could change the retail mix in high streets forever.

Planning Minister Nick Boles has sounded the death knell for traditional high streets by saying empty or boarded-up shops should be turned into housing.

A consultation paper due out this week will suggest councils throughout England concentrate their efforts to revitalise shopping to just one or two ”prime streets”. The rest can be converted.

Mr Boles will also allow farmers to convert agricultural buildings such as cowsheds and stables into housing.

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The high street proposals mark a dramatic shift in government policy. Two years ago it hired Mary Portas, the ”Queen of Shops”, to save high streets. In June, she attacked the government for refusing to commit to the ”town centre first” planning central to her recommendations.

Retail chiefs said Mr Boles’ proposals marked the first time a minister had publicly admitted the high street in its traditional sense was beyond saving.

Bill Grimsey, a campaigner who has called on ministers to admit the high street is dying and needs radical reform, said: ”As soon as I heard this, I tweeted ‘Hooray’. At last the message is getting through – that there are high streets out there that need to be considered in a very different way. It’s only going to get worse. High streets cannot continue to serve solely as a retail destination, they have to be seen as a community hub.”

Another retail executive said: ”Given the over-expansion into out-of-town shopping, and now the rise of the internet, there is just too much retail space.”

A spokesman for Mr Boles’ department said there was no estimate of how many homes could be created by relaxing planning rules. He insisted the minister was not ”abandoning” the high street, and that more housing closer to shops in prime locations may boost business.

An estimated 14 per cent of British high street shops are empty or boarded up after the credit crisis ripped through the retail sector.

Telegraph, London

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/amid-retail-decline-the-high-street-may-be-reborn-as-housing-20130806-2rdb0.html#ixzz2beQsCm5N

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3 Responses to Amid retail decline, the high street may be reborn as housing

  1. Very interesting and agree. With our family being in retail for over 30 years – we agree too many shops and too much repetition of product doesn’t bode well for anyone. Mixed use and being able to creatively mix spaces and offerings is a perfect idea.

  2. …Never flog a dead horse this is “true”…but there are reasons for the horse dying and is it really dead or does town planning and retail behaviour /community utility need to be studied to come up with the right positioning and location of the right mix of types of retail and consumer residential,commercial mixes…we need to see the tacit connections and flows of social commercial links that exist in the most unlikely places…not just one size and idea fits all…customise and plan with a more enlightened knowledge I say…I have seen many transformations in unlikely spots including Fremantle …to say that just turning shops into housing is a ‘solution’…let alone the fact we need to properly diagnose the ailment we are ‘curing’.Hulbert St,South Fremantle,places like Brunswick St in Victoria…all more or less part planned,part organic transformations of unlikely stagnant areas.Retail and cultural activity mixes are important.The west end in Fremantle has a growing stock of short term/short stay accomodation…but they stay in the area not just for the pricing …though a factor…it is also for its heritage values and atmosphere …needing as it maybe of a bit of enlivening…Servicing of needs of theses patrons…such as Cafes and eating and Gallery /cultural areas and spaces of interactions ,need consideration to create a flow and catchment of both cash,sales and people activity in a more collective sense…not just individualistic activity.Bars are not necessarily a solution…but mixing cultural activity that is other than just alcohol based,music venues,theatres etc will help enliven….just a thought.Ciao Warren

  3. Reblogged this on Barracuda Studio Gallery and commented:
    …Never flog a dead horse this is “true”…but there are reasons for the horse dying and is it really dead or does town and planning and retail behaviour /community utility need to bit studied to come up with the right positioning and location of the right mix of types of retail and consumer residential,commercial mixes…we need to see the tacit connections and flows of social commercial links that exist in the most unlikely places…not just one size and idea fits all…customise and plan with a more enlightened knowledge I say…I have seen many transformations in unlikely spots including Fremantle to say that just turning shops into housing is a ‘solution’…let alone the fact we need to properly diagnose the ailment we are ‘curing’….Hulbert St,South Fremantle,places like Brunswick St in Victoria…all more or less part planned,part organic transformations of unlikely stagnant areas.Retail and cultural activity mixes are important.The west end in fremantle has a growing stock of short term/short stay accomodation…but they stay in the area not just for the pricing …though a factor…it is also for its heritage values and atmosphere …needing as it maybe of a bit of enlivening…Cafes and eating and Gallery /cultural areas and spaces of interactions need consideration to create a flow and catchment of both cash,sales and people activity in a more collective sense…not just individual istic activity.Bars are not necessarily a solution…but mixing cultural activity that is other than just alchol based,music venues,theatres etc will help enliven….just a thought.Ciao Warren

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