A new report has suggested that many vacant buildings will never be re-opened unless planning authorities become more accepting of changes to retail space.
The report, published jointly by The Local Data Company and The British Property Federation, noted that the amount of vacant retail space in the UK has risen to a record high of 14.6 per cent.
Liz Peace, who is chief executive of the BPF, has argued that the only way to stop this figure growing further is to turn these shops into something else.
She told dailymail.co.uk: "That will require flexibility on the part of local planning authorities, but equally an acceptance from the property industry and its investors and lenders that in many cases previous values simply cannot be maintained and new lower value uses are the only option."
Peace suggested that turning vacant retail space into schools, nurseries, gyms, libraries or even new homes could help prevent high streets from looking so deserted. The alternative would be a period of "irreversible decline with unacceptable social consequences," she said.
Portsmouth.co.uk reports that Margate is the town with the highest proportion of vacant retail space, followed by Dudley and Fratton.
Written by Joe Elvin on behalf of Qube Global Software
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