Stockport highlighted as having one of the highest rates of shop vacancies in the UK.
Stockport should look to the successful regeneration of Manchester’s Northern Quarter to bring its high street back to life, claims the Commercial Real Estate team at local law firm SAS Daniels.
Stockport has just been announced as having one of the highest shop vacancy rates in the country, with 25.9%* of its retail outlets currently standing vacant. The data also revealed that there are one in five shops in the North now empty, compared to one in 10 in the South.
In fact the North West had been the worst performing region for the past six years with a shop vacancy rate of 18.6%. The worst affected region for the second half of 2014 was the North East.
James Clarke, Partner at SAS Daniels LLP said: “This data paints a pretty grim picture of the high street in Stockport and the North West on the whole but there’s a lot of good work being done to help improve our local town centre.
“Although there are already plans in place to regenerate Stockport we believe that more needs to be done to create a strong customer base by encouraging residential development in the town centre and this needs to include affordable housing.
“We’ve seen this work particularly well in Manchester as areas like the Northern Quarter have aligned residential developments with leisure, making it an attractive location to live and for hotels and independent retailers to base themselves.
“The council should look at old offices and brown field sites in Stockport for residential development to provide a customer base which will support our shops and encourage growth and introduce plans to diversify the high street to create a destination experience. The success of the Northern Quarter is a great example of how this can be done.
“Stockport has loads going for it; it’s a historic market town with a rich history, excellent transport links, countryside on the doorstep and lower living costs than Manchester. But it needs to make the town centre more attractive to increase footfall and provide an alternative to out of town/retail park shopping, rather than trying to compete with it.
“It’s important that Stockport becomes a key destination again and we need to encourage diversity in the high street with more independent shops, cafes and restaurants to encourage shoppers to visit.”
SAS Daniels also believes business rate concessions and lower rents or incentives from landlords will help encourage entrepreneurs and independent retailers to start to fill some of the empty properties.
Stockport-based SAS Daniels’ Commercial Real Estate team works with owner managed businesses and SMEs across the North West, with particular specialism in property development, land promotion and landlord and tenant work.
SAS Daniels LLP has over 70 legal advisers, including 23 partners and operates out of offices in Stockport, Macclesfield, Chester and Congleton.
* The research comes from The Local Data Company and monitors 3,000 town and shopping centres and retail parks in the UK.