LB Hillingdon counters the recent Local Data Company (LDC) survey, backed by the British Property Federation, which said that while West London town centres in general were holding up relatively well in the recession, Yiewsley was the worst hit town centre in London.
The story has garnered extensive coverage in local and national media, as well as here on lookwest news. LB Hillingdon say that the numbers in the survey are misleading, and do not take the ‘wider area’ of Yiewsley into account.
Council figures show a 20% retail property vacancy rate in about 90 shops in “a wider area of shops in Yiewsley, as well as the area of West Drayton”, which is substantially less than the 29% found in the LDC survey, but takes in a significantly larger geographical footprint.
The Council’s numbers show the decline as much slower – from 14% to 20% as opposed to the much more radical dropoff from 3% to 29% found by the LDC. They also surveyed around 175 properties including these shops, as well as a range of restautrants and other properties occupying shop-front style property, and found vacancy rates have actually decreased from 17% to 11%.
The 20% vacancy rate is still higher than any other West London location named in the LDC survey, with Fulham next at 18%, as well as being well above the national average of 12%, but The Council is taking action, they say, with a range of measures including rate relief for small business, rent relief for all business renting Council property, prioritising invoices from local businesses to the Council to ensure they are paid immediately rather than within 30 days, and free advertising for local businesses in the Hillingdon Business Directory and the HillingdonFirst directory.
West London’s Town Centres will be the subject of one of the sessions at the Place West London Conference on October 13 featuring, among others, Will McKee, Chair of the Outer London Commission. See the full programme.