Once again the Local Data Company are trying to make headlines with their regular report on the state of Britain’s high streets. This time, their story has been a little overwhelmed by the Cabinet reshuffle, Paralympics and the British Retail Consortium’s sales figures. And once again I feel the need to highlight that the Local Data Company could do with some local knowledge. (And I’m sure the process will repeat in six months time.)
Wandsworth is named as one of the ‘worst small centre performers’. For a start, I’d question the classification as ‘small’; Southside alone is over 500,000sq ft. But, most importantly, the LDC still fail to take account of what is happening in Wandsworth. As I mentioned last time:
the large numbers of vacant units are largely a result of a planned redevelopment of the Southside shopping centre.
The shops are not closed because Wandsworth is in “a spiral of decline” as their report might imply, but in preparation for a multi-million pound investment.
Anyone who has used the centre recently can see the work taking place. Most visibly at the moment on the first floor where new restaurants are being created, but work is also commencing on Garratt Lane where more retail space and restaurants is being built.
Fortunately most shoppers recognise the difference between a centre in decline and a centre being developed. If only the Local Development Company could recognise it too.