At increasingly uncertain times for retail in Britain, blending residential into existing commercial developments is a novel way of underwriting underperforming assets.
Additionally, many of the retail parks and sites that will benefit from such plans are in areas of high housing demand and chronic undersupply. Driving up both the density and intensity of uses on these sites could bring tens of thousands of new homes onto the market with relative ease.
From an architectural perspective, issues of design quality must be emphasised in this type of development. Blending residential communities with busy and noisy commercial uses requires architects and developers to prioritise high-quality materials, sound installation and innovative layouts to ensure that the different uses are integrated seamlessly.
The development of existing retail sites has the potential to deliver vibrant places, amenities and a lot of homes, so it is important that we get it right.
Russell Pedley, co-founder, Assael