The retail, hospitality and leisure sectors were dealt a huge blow when the pandemic struck and lockdown restrictions forced closures across the country. Businesses face different operational challenges now, as it is clear the pandemic has changed consumer behaviours.
Brands operating in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors need to adapt and evolve quickly in order to survive and remain competitive.
One example of adapting to offer something different to consumers is Kindred Concepts’ plan to bring F1 Arcade – the first Formula One-licensed premium experiential venue of its kind – to London St Paul’s and then to Paradise, the £1.2bn business, leisure and residential destination in the heart of Birmingham. The concept offers an immersive F1 simulation experience alongside a quality food and beverage offer.
Virtual experiences could be a powerful way of reviving the retail and leisure sector by attracting people to try an experience in a premium setting that they cannot replicate at home. Operators want to attract people to their venues and keep them coming back.
However, there are planning considerations to be aware of, given the combination of different uses that are often involved in the operation of these concepts. The changes made to the Use Classes Order in 2020 brought together some uses (such as retail, restaurants and gyms) within a new Class E.
Many other uses are now sui generis, which means ‘in a class of their own’, so a mixed use such as a bar plus leisure activities would potentially be sui generis and require planning permission. As some of these mixed uses will bring issues such as noise, the local authority will want to control these issues by condition where possible.
Having navigated the challenges of the past two years, businesses must keep evolving to support and drive the continued growth of the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Experiential venues may be a key part of an exciting future for these sectors.
Phil Moran is real estate partner and Katherine Evans is partner and head of planning at law firm TLT