High streets require collaboration, creativity and innovation from property owners, landlords, local authorities and communities if they are to remain the lifeblood of London’s neighbourhoods for years to come. 


Source: Shutterstock / Joe Low photographer

You reported last week that footfall had returned to high streets with independent produce stores and fast-growing online brands having an ever-growing presence on the high street (‘Time is ripe for reinvention and revival of UK high streets’).

Footfall has also increased due to the return of office workers. Areas such as Soho and Mayfair in London have become hives of activity again, positively affecting local businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants and dry cleaners that rely upon office workers for regular revenue.

Our premises across central London are currently running at more than 95% occupancy, an increase from circa 75% occupancy during the first year of the pandemic.

Masterplans that include the adaptive reuse of historical and listed buildings in London’s neighbourhoods are essential for the regeneration of our town and city centres. It is far more sustainable to repurpose a building than it is to demolish it and start again. But it is important for buildings to be flexible and adaptable, so that retrofitting is future-proofed, especially in terms of M&E.

The success of our neighbourhoods also lies in the creation of truly mixed-use high streets that blend commercial and residential property with leisure, arts and culture – creating destinations that will attract more people and businesses to the area, helping neighbourhoods to thrive for the long term.

It is vital that landowners, landlords, commercial occupiers and residents work collectively and creatively to deliver a long-term and sustainable vision for our high streets, so that people can live and work in the same area and so that the heritage and history of our great towns and cities are retained.

Edward Griffin, chief executive, WorkPad