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Shop planning applications drop

Planning applications for new stores and shopping centres in England have plunged for the ninth year in a row.

The number of planning applications for new shops and shopping centres in England is down by 55% since the credit crunch to 6,090 in 2017, compared with 13,500 in 2008, according to research by peer-to-peer secured property lending platform Lendy.

Last year planning applications fell by 8% on 2016. Meanwhile retail vacancy rates have risen to more than 12%, with many retailers either delaying store openings or closing underperforming outlets.

Lendy noted that falling consumer spending and Brexit uncertainties could be forcing retailers to put off decisions on opening stores.

The platform found that 118 retail businesses went insolvent in 2017, marking a 28% rise on the previous year.

Liam Brooke, co-founder of Lendy, said: “Investors in shops and shopping centres had been used to rents only ever going up, safe in the knowledge that any vacancies could be filled by one of a number of expansion-minded retailers. The recession and the boost to ecommerce from smartphones ended all that.

“Falling planning applications for new shops is a direct result of the pressures the retail industry is dealing with at the moment. Consumers can now get all the products they need on the internet, and as a result, retailers are seeing less need to invest in their high-street presence.”

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