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The South West

With some political certainty and Brexit now a certainty what will 2020 bring?

Undoubtedly 2019 was a difficult year partly because of the overall uncertainty on all fronts but also the increasingly difficult trading in the High Street.

Weston-super-Mare like many other High Streets are suffering with vacant space – seldom available for more than a few weeks some 10 years ago – but now available on a longer term vacancy basis.

20 Bedroom Grade II Listed Georgian Period Hotel with 0.86 acres of Gardens and Grounds with separate owners living accommodation.

Situated in Westbury, Wiltshire

OIRO £975,000 - E.P.C.’s available on request North Somerset

Development land for sale with Planning Permission for 2 detached business units (B1 and B2) to include research and development with associated parking and access.

Offers invited in excess of £500,000. For Sale

Former Public House available as a whole or can be split.

110 High Street – includes a Ground Floor Bar 79.72 sq.m (858 sq.ft), First floor Kitchen and further living accommodation. W.C. Facilities. Cellar.

E.P.C. Rating: ‘D’

112 -114 High Street – includes Ground and First Floor Bars 131.85 sq.m (1419 sq.ft) overall with additional W.C. Facilities.

E.P.C. Rating: ’C’

Industrial Warehouse Unit To Let - High Street, Searle Crescent Weston-super-Mare

869.66 sq.m (9360 sq.ft) overall including concrete mezzanine

Parking to the front for 6 vehicles E.P.C. Rating: ‘C’ Rent: £40,000 p.a.x.

Consideration may be given to the sale of the Freehold with the benefit of approx.. 0.6 acres of rear yard

How can this be overcome?

Clearly one of the major factors is the growth of the internet and online shopping making many retailers purely unpaid showrooms for companies trading on the internet.

It is too easy to visit a shop and see what an item looks like and go home to use the internet and order it online making a saving and securing delivery within a matter of days.

Couple this with high business rates based on rental values in 2015 before the internet became as strong as it is means that retailers find it increasingly difficult to compete.

This has led to many units in the High Street and Sovereign Shopping Centre of Weston-super-Mare becoming vacant most notably the closure of Marks & Spencers in March 2019 and the announced closure of Argos in March next.

The result of the retail turmoil is that High Street rents are falling and there is evidence to show significant reductions being secured on lease renewal or rent review and the resultant fall in investment values and demand for such investments.

Unfortunately there can be no magic wand and the Government needs to look at the question overall for there must I suggest be steps taken to secure greater taxation whether that be by rating or income tax from the warehouse and distribution companies which in turn would enable High Street rates to be reduced.

The next rating review is due in 2022 based on rents as at March 2020 and therefore with the changes that have occurred there must be a very significant realignment of rating in the central areas leading to significant reductions in rates payable by such retailers albeit the application of transitional relief may assist. However this is unlikely to be as much of a benefit as it should be.

We can simply wait and see.

It is however not all doom and gloom. The demand for industrial and warehouse premises within the North Somerset area continues with lettings being achieved particularly of smaller units below 3,000 square feet.

Stephen and Co. 13 Waterloo Street Weston-super-Mare North SomNorth Somerset BS23 1LA

Phone: 01934 621101 Email: 54

Offices however continue to be difficult in the Weston-super-Mare area although demand in the North of the District closer to Bristol is steady.

Hopefully the settling of the political and Brexit position will generate interest in commercial property generally and enable purchasers and tenants to go forward with some certainty.

It will also be interesting to see how the Government reacts to the deteriorating state of the High Streets.


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