There is no denying that town centre life has changed a lot since 2020. With people working from home, and many people being unable to attend social gatherings or events in the heart of town, a lot of areas are going to waste.
However, this also presents an opportunity, and in Sutton, there will likely be some big changes to the High Street.
At Belvoir Sutton, we believe a thriving High Street and town centre area is important for the local property market. There is a great deal to be said for people living close to where they work and socialise. Remote working might have shifted this scenario, but there is no denying the heart of Sutton can still be a key location for many people.
Big changes are on their way
The local council in Sutton has spent £26 billion on a shopping centre, with the aim of reviving the town centre. This purchase includes the long leasehold of the St Nicholas Centre, located on Sutton High Street. The council were already the owners of the freehold.
The site, which spans 4.7 acres, includes a 740-space car park, and there is also an Empire Cinema.
Opposition councillor Tom Drummond, who is the leader of the Conservative group said: “On the one hand I don’t actually think it’s a bad deal, but my big issue is they haven’t really got a plan for it. They have spent £26 million, if I was buying a business, I would want a business plan. You see what has happened in Croydon, they’ve done all the purchases – if we are going to purchase properties we need to be really careful, the last thing we want is for Sutton to go down the same road.”
There are warning signs for the council to heed
There are concerns that these plans might go the same way a similar project in Croydon did. The local council invested in a number of properties at the time. This includes a hotel, which was criticised by auditors when the council declared bankruptcy in the autumn of 2020.
Sutton Council insist they will undertake a consultation for residents to share their opinions on what the future of the town centre will look like.
Council leader Ruth Dombey said: “The purchase of the St Nicholas Centre offers us an opportunity to ensure the future vitality of our High Street. As the long leaseholder, we will have much greater control and influence over a key asset in our borough and can ensure that any future development is in keeping with our vision for the town centre. Delivering a vibrant high street that responds to today’s leisure, consumer and employment demands is more important than ever as we seek to rebuild Sutton’s communities and economy after the impact of the pandemic.”
If you are starting the sales process, or wondering what your next move will be, you can arrange for an instant valuation to take place. Our instant valuation tool is free, quick to use and very easy to arrange, so contact Belvoir Sutton today if you would like to arrange a valuation anytime soon.