The traditional high street has been a cornerstone of communities for centuries, serving as a hub for commerce, social interaction and cultural exchange. However, recent years have witnessed a significant decline in the vitality of the high street, with retail shops facing closures at an alarming rate. Andrew Gunning, Head of Sales from Global Home Warranties, discusses how we can reimagine the high street and help create new homes to ease the stressed housing market.
The changing landscape of the high street: a need for adaptation
The decline of the high street is a result of several factors, including the convenience of online shopping, increasing business rates, and the impact of economic recessions. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this decline as lockdowns and social distancing measures pushed more consumers towards digital shopping platforms. Consequently, empty retail units have become a common sight, creating a challenging environment for local businesses and leaving town centres with a sense of desolation.
As local authorities grapple with the task of redefining the high street’s purpose, a promising solution emerges: repopulating closed shops with converted houses, flats, and apartments. This revitalisation effort calls for a collaborative approach involving local authorities, social housing trusts, and housing warranty providers like Global Home Warranties.
Redefining the high street: the housing solution
Amidst this challenge, local authorities have the opportunity to reimagine the high street as a multifunctional space that not only caters to commerce but also serves as a thriving residential hub. By repopulating closed retail units with converted houses, flats, and apartments, the high street can regain its vibrancy while addressing the growing demand for housing in urban areas.
Collaboration between local authorities and social housing trusts
To achieve this ambitious regeneration, collaboration between local authorities and social housing trusts is essential. Social housing trusts, with their mission to provide affordable and secure housing for vulnerable individuals and families, can play a pivotal role in repopulating closed shops.
By partnering with local authorities, these trusts can allocate resources, expertise, and funding to convert vacant retail spaces into functional and modern living environments.
Role of housing warranty providers
Housing warranty providers like Global Home Warranties bring an additional layer of support to the revival of the high street space. They offer comprehensive coverage for newly converted residential properties, assuring both residents and investors that the converted spaces meet the required standard. This assurance is invaluable for encouraging investment and promoting confidence in repopulating the high street with residential units.
Benefits of collaboration
The collaboration between local authorities, social housing trusts, and housing warranty providers offers a host of benefits. Firstly, repopulating closed shops addresses the pressing issue of housing shortage, providing affordable and well-located housing options. Moreover, this approach breathes new life into neglected areas, fostering vibrant and connected communities.
Local authorities and social housing trusts can play a pivotal role in facilitating this transformation. They can initiate partnerships with private developers, housing associations, and warranty providers to ensure that the converted spaces meet rigorous quality standards and comply with Building Regulations. By fostering collaboration, local authorities can create a seamless transition from commercial spaces to residential units, enhancing the overall appeal and liveability of the high street.
A bright future for our high streets
The high street’s decline offers a chance for rebirth. Converting closed shops into homes and businesses revitalises these areas, sparing valuable agricultural and green spaces. Collaboration with housing warranty providers like Global Home Warranties ensures quality and instils confidence in residents and investors.