Yiewsley “worst hit in London”

yiewsley high stYiewsley Town Centre is the worst hit in London by the recession, according to a report.

The Local Data CompanyMid-Year Report, backed by the British Property Federation (BPF), reveals that while West London is fairing relatively well in the current economy there is at least one rather black spot, with Yiewsley posting the highest retail property vacancy rate in the Capital at 29%. The Uxbridge Gazettereports that the rate in June 2008 was just 3.8%.

Other West London locations are rather healthy by comparison with this, and with the UK national average of 12%, notably Uxbridge, just a few miles from Yiewsley, at 3%.

Fulham has a high number, at 18.2%, but, says Matthew Hopkinson of the Local Data Company, that is a combination of a number of areas, with Dawes Road bringing up the total vacancy rate considerably, and other areas much less hard-hit.

Ealing Broadway’s rate of 12.8% seems high, but in comparison with Brixton (19.4%), Camden (18.6%), Ilford (16.9%), Croydon (15.4%) and Bromley (14.2%), its an island of relative prosperity. Greater London vacancy rates are in any case “well above the UK average” says Hopkinson.

The story is better in Hounslow Town Centre (7.1%), Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush (9%), and Harrow (6.8%), which are all well inside the national average. Wembley and Uxbridge, which both post rates of just 3% are among the lowest in the country.

The real concern in the report is the rate at which vacancy rates are rising. The number of empty shops across England and Wales has risen from 4.5% to 12% a year ago. Margate is one of the worst hit towns, with vacancies increasing from 5% to 25% while Derby is up from 8% to 22%.

The BPF says that the numbers contain a challenge for smaller town centres – Liz Peace, BPF Chief Executive, says: smaller centres have to reinvent themselves in terms of convenience and we need a rethink on change of use, accessibility and car parking. We need to properly work out what smaller towns are for, as theyve just accumulated problems over the years. Second rate retailers have been found out by the recession, and as they often collect in these places thats one reason why many smaller places have high vacancy rates. The problem is many shops wont come back, because there isnt the demand and the internet caters for many things previously bought on the high street.

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.

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