Will more people start living in the High Street?

Alex Johnson

e9beda3a3278a922b4262f3b60b2442eb60e20b2 300x225 Will more people start living in the High Street?An interesting take on the future of the nation’s high streets comes from specialist short-term lender, Bridging Finance Limited. Arguing that the high street must adapt to survive, they suggest that there should to be a shift of emphasis from chain stores to boutiques and residential dwellings. The British Retail Consortium has estimated that around one in 10 shops in the UK’s town centres are empty.

“The high street in 2013 needs to develop to survive,” said Chris Baguley, managing director of Bridging Finance Limited. “I envisage shops and offices becoming residential properties and service businesses such as bars, newsagents and restaurants springing up to cater for residents. The high street of the future will still be a focal point for the community but it will have a different emphasis. The new high street will be a destination space where consumers will spend their leisure time socialising with friends and shopping at unique boutique stores.”

Urban change of use is very much flavour of the week, with the San Francisco Chronicle looking at pop-up housing in the city (often, as the paper points out, in violation of zoning codes) and considerable controversy over the Pop-up HAWSE scheme which plans to turn disused garages in Dalston, east London, into small flatplack homes to help ease the city’s housing crisis.

“The shift to converting old terraced/semi commercial shops back to residential dwellings will also supply a shortage of housing space and fulfil a desire to live in buzzing areas,” added Baguley. “The most thriving centres have residential properties in walking distance to desirable shops, bars and restaurants.”

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  • Samantha Yorks

    I’ve lived in a flat above a shop on a very busy street for almost 30 years. This building was built as a shop with owners living accommodation above, but most shops around here were originally dwellings that had their ground floors converted to shops in the 20’s/30’s. They could easily be reverted back to domestic use.

    Too many shops have empty flats above them too.
    The only sticky point is parking. I’ve got around that in recent years by striking a deal with the landlord of the pub opposite.

  • hughonabike

    “Too many shops have empty flats above them too”

    Too many lenders won’t mortgage flats above shops.

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