With £95m of cash investment being granted to 69 high streets across England, how will this rejuvenation effect the residential property markets in the surrounding areas? We use the REalyse platform to find out.
Read time: 6 minutes
Once the centerpiece of any neighbourhood, the local high street was a place where residents flocked for their shopping activities. It was a pillar of the community; somewhere that brought everyone together, whether it be in the post office, butchers, or other local business.
Over the last two years the local high street has lost much of its buzz. A consumer shift towards online shopping has made it harder for high street businesses to keep pace. Today, it’s not uncommon for your local British high street to paint a grim picture, with many boarded up shops and fewer people on the streets.
You could say that the local high street has etched itself in British folklore. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see the government investing heavily in trying to rejuvenate them.
The Future High Street Fund sees the investment of £95m in 69 UK towns to revive their high streets. With the successful recipients of this funding announced earlier this week, the plan is to revitalise historic shopping spots, returning them the heart and soul of their communities. The scheme aims to create more jobs, bring run-down buildings up to scratch and even increase local housing numbers.
The real question centres around whether the High Street Fund will give these UK high streets a much needed shot in the arm. Or is it simply one last attempt to hold off the inevitable influence of online giants from planting the final nail in the local high street coffin?
We’ve taken three areas that have received funding and dug deep into the REalyse platform, looking at whether a local high street spruce up will help to breathe new life into the residential property markets in their surrounding areas as well.
It would seem that the government does have a few topics on the agenda that don’t revolve around the big B word – the High Street Fund being one of them. Towns across England are set to be the benefactor of the initiative, which will see £95m invested into these town centres.
From access into the centres to creating more jobs, the funding will be used to return local high streets to vibrant places people want to visit. Some abandoned buildings will be turned into housing to try and tackle the current UK housing crisis, while others will be leased to local businesses.
The Midlands will receive the biggest investment, enjoying £21m set aside for places such as Coventry, Lincoln and Leicester City Centre. Overall, 69 towns from across the UK will receive funding to improve their local high streets and town centres.
Coventry is one of the biggest benefactors of the High Street fund. £2m will be invested in its ancient shopping street, The Burges. Remaining historic buildings that weren’t affected by World War II will get a face lift.
On the face of it, Coventry looks like a smart area to invest in residential property. Over the last five years, homes have less time on the sales market, with people seemingly eager to snap up property. In the last year, property has sold between 30 and 50 days on the market compared to 70 and 90 days five years ago.
With a population of more than 350,000 people, it makes sense to bring parts of the area up to scratch – especially if they go on to become important hubs in the city. With the average price paid per property hitting the £220k mark, with £250k being the typical asking price, it seems as if the housing market in Coventry is currently in rude health. So it would seem a reasonable assumption that any investment in local infrastructure will only help heighten its appeal.
The south-east London area of Woolwich has been at the centre of regeneration over the years, which is why it’s no surprise to see that it has been included in the High Street Fund. With an Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) stop coming to the SE18 postcode, there’s bound to be plenty of people in the capital considering the area as a potential place to live.
The last five years has seen 124 units comprised across three separate developments in the SE18 postcode.
In the last year alone, a further 20 developments have been given the green light. These numbers suggest that Woolwich is an area where there is an extensive focus on regeneration, as London looks to make the most out of all of its riverside locations.
The county town of Bedfordshire is a popular London commuter town, and now it’s getting a fresh lick of paint for its centre. It has been awarded £2m to breathe new life into the town centre, with the aim of giving Bedford more than a “commuter” status.
Economic status will play a huge role in whether the High Street Fund scheme is successful. With an average monthly income of around £2.6k in the large village of Biddenham, Bedford, there’s every reason to believe that residents will reinvest into the local economy after the upgrades.
At the very least, the High Street Fund scheme looks set to provide a breath of fresh air into town centres that are in need of some attention. With 69 towns earmarked for investment, there’s no guarantee that every high street and its surrounding residential property markets will rise to immediate success.
Local demand in an area, along with economic demographics, will play a large part in determining whether these local high streets once again become thriving hubs in their community. But a £95m investment across the UK is certainly welcome to try and boost the flagging high streets.
Over to you, local high streets.
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