As we continue to navigate the pandemic, the Housing, Community and Local Government Select Committee is gathering evidence on the long-term impact to urban centres. Meanwhile, the construction industry continues to focus on mitigating the social and economic impacts, and implement strategies to ensure that urban hubs remain the focal point of local communities.
Typical consumer behaviour in a fast-moving world is now augmented by new behavioural patterns that will outlive the current disruptor. The real estate sector has undergone radical evolution overnight, with the pandemic accelerating decades of change over just six months. The results are all too evident, with the complete eradication of many retail brands and frantic adaptation by others, with a sprinkling of digitally native brands and flexible brands performing well in the bricks and mortar environment.
Local and central government have vital parts to play in revitalising urban centres, in both funding and reconsidering previously restrictive systems, from planning to business rates. Good progress is being made in these areas with further support pledged.
Slow return to the office has clearly impacted urban centre footfall, which is 34% down year-on-year.