Whilst there is much talk about the death of the high street, Cheltenham appears to be bucking the trend. Analysis of business rates data by Plainview Planning shows that there has been a 10% fall in empty commercial properties since October 2017. As of October 2018 there are 349 “empty properties” as defined by Cheltenham Borough Council.
The reduction in empty units is positive, but there are some that have been persistently empty for several years. The average length of time that these properties have been empty is circa 18 months.
It is important that these properties don’t stagnate, as not only can the building deteriorate, it can have a negative impact on the vitality of the high street too.
To view an interactive map of the currently empty commercial properties in Cheltenham click here. This map provides a useful example of how Plainview Planning use data and technology to form robust planning arguments or unearth development opportunities for our clients.
Development opportunities for empty commercial units
Development options for your unit will depend on several factors, including the site context and planning history. Some changes of use may be permissible under permitted development rights, but if you want to redevelop the property it is likely that planning permission will be required.
One of the key considerations when preparing such an application is how you justify the loss of one use in favour of another. This can be a challenging argument to make, especially if the site is situated within areas where local policy seeks to protect certain use classes.
At Plainview Planning we have assisted on numerous change of use applications, including gyms, cookery schools, residential accommodation, offices, medical clinics and religious institutions to name but a few.
Examples of our change of use experience in Cheltenham include:
- B1 to B1/A2 along with alterations to a Grade II* listed building;
- A1 retail to an A3 restaurant;
- a residential care home to 3 x dwellings;
- a B1 office to C3 residential accommodation.
If you have an aspiration for an empty property, then we would be delighted to help. And if you want to learn more about how our data analysis can help your next development project then give us a call on 01242 501003 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INFORMATION SOURCE: Cheltenham Borough Council Business Rates (October 2018)