Although a number of shopping centre developments have been approved or pitched lately, in the UK overall shopping centre development has remained at a level first seen at the beginning of the financial crisis. However, West Yorkshire has somewhat bucked this trend, with the region’s commitment to growth allowing it to climb steadily up the national “Top Shopping Venues” table.
According to CBRE’s latest UK Shopping Centre Pipeline report, proposals for shopping centre construction have slowed considerably, with this year’s applications for 15.5 million square feet of space almost half that of the 30 million square feet submitted in 2009. However, thanks to a number of ongoing proposals and granted applications, West Yorkshire is contributing strongly to the overall development figure, with only London performing on a similar level at present.
During the first half of 2014, over 50 per cent of the 5.3 million square feet of shopping centre space nominally under construction was centred around only four locations. Two of these, Victoria Gate in Leeds and Bradford Broadway, are located in West Yorkshire, with the other two large scale schemes being Battersea Power Station and Kings Cross, both of which are located in London.
Retail asset services director at CBRE’s Leeds division, Andrew Milton, believes these developments among others will help greatly in building the region’s prestige as a premier retail destination.
He says; “Hammerson’s Victoria Gate which will see John Lewis coming to the city for the first time, Westfield’s long awaited Broadway development in Bradford and the recently opened Vangarde Retail Park in York all demonstrate that retailing within the Yorkshire region continues to be strong in those important key locations.”
“Although London and the south east remain dominant in terms of development and retailer preferences, strong retailing locations within the UK will always do well including good quality market towns.”
“This is evidenced by Wykelands’ mixed use development in Beverley which is due to open late 2015.”
Of course, the fact that Yorkshire is becoming increasingly prominent in the retail industry is something of a well-known fact, especially as it is home to the Trinity Leeds Shopping Centre – a development which, in March 2013, became the only large retail scheme of its kind to open in the UK last year. Yet the degree of Yorkshire’s prowess has only recently been highlighted, with a report from the Javelin Group in September discovering that Yorkshire and Humberside is now only 2.52 per cent behind London in terms of new construction projects in the pipeline.
Mr Milton is hopeful that the sheer number of new developments will allow the region to become yet more popular with consumers willing to travel for retail variety.
He continues; “The relative importance of these developments can be seen in Javelin Group’s annual ranking of retail venues published in September 2014.
“While London’s West End continues to be the leading shopping destination, the principle mover at the top of the rankings is Leeds.
“Following the opening of Trinity it has moved up into third place behind Glasgow and Manchester, and who is to say that Leeds will not rise higher when Victoria Gate opens?”
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