21 Nov The changing Landscape of our Town Centres
The changing Landscape of our Town Centres
Following 15 years of local and national planning policies, developed to support and promote in-town retail sites, what is the future for UK Town Centres?
Our demand as a nation for wanting to shop online, and the associated withdrawal from Town Centre shopping, is causing many changes in planning policy for our urban spaces. Only a few years ago our high streets were packed with consumers on Saturday mornings. Both independent shops and nationwide retailers shared space in familiar town centre settings. Now more than ever consumers are choosing to shop online. It is anticipated that less people will visit their High Streets this Christmas than during the recession years of 2010, 2011 and 2012. Internet shopping is on the rise and there are few signs that this demand will wane over the coming years.
So what of the Town Centres and the Planners who are responsible for setting policies? The past two governments have placed Town Centres in their respective manifestos. Over the past 15 years most towns and cities in the UK have been promoting mixed use and retail developments over other land uses, and particularly in Town Centres over out of town retail sites.
The push in several UK councils is to tackle nationwide housing shortages. We are seeing an increasing trend for shop owners to sell off their premises for the purpose of residential development. With more accommodation and less places to shop, the demand for internet shopping will continue to soar. This may lead to more fragmented communities and a lack of identity for the Town centres that try to support them.
How do you envisage the future land use of our town centres and urban areas? What impacts can you foresee?