Responding to the Mayor of London’s high street funding announcement today, Nicolas Bosetti, Head of Data and Insight at Centre for London said:
“More than a third of Londoners live within 200 metres of a high street. High streets are not just places to shop, they provide jobs and a place to meet friends and access essential services.
“Communities must play a meaningful role in shaping their local centres, and this new funding from City Hall will offer some much-needed financial support to bring our high streets back to life after lockdown.
“But the government has a role to play too and should reconsider its proposed extension of permitted development rights, to allow conversion of commercial-to-residential conversion, which risks losing places for people to visit on local high streets.
“It should also introduce legislation to make it easier to identify owners of vacant buildings and review the powers of local authorities to bring these places back into use.
“And as long as there’s no level playing field between traditional brick-and-mortar and online retail, it will be an uphill struggle to resuscitate our high streets. It’s crucial that the government addresses this as soon as possible.”