Can we re-address the social and environmental imbalance on the high street ?
For decades investors saw the benefit of the commodification of rents, which created an imbalance of power, giving landlords an edge over tenants with expensive lawyers and surveyors, protecting their retail investment. In a quest to expand, retail tenants quite happily entered into long leases which in turn facilitated the construction of the modern shopping centre.
Recent global events have shifted the balance of power in the hands of the tenants, with landlords seeking tenants for many vacant shopping centres. This does provide opportunities to repurpose the high street and create a more diverse and inclusive offering for the local communities. With one eye on environmental issues, communities have the chance to create a footprint that re-balances the sustainability of our town centres, shifting the emphasis towards social inclusion and environmental understandings.
This needs to be done in an organised and equal partnership with meaningful collaboration between landlords and tenants, not rhetoric and platitudes, so we don't revert back to the faustian arrangements of the past.
With our knowledge of the high street and understanding of property law we can help previously disadvantaged tenants achieve an equal footing.