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PROPTECH-X : Lichfields report on future of town centres released | PropertyPal announces new team

Lichfields report highlights guiding principles for successful repurposing in Britain’s town centres

A new report by national planning and development consultancy, Lichfields, sheds light on the future of UK town centres, presenting a roadmap for the revitalisation and repurposing of vacant or underutilised buildings.  

Entitled “Out with the Old, In with the New“, the report arrives at a critical juncture for high street retailing, offering essential insights for landlords, investors, and local authorities grappling with the challenges of envisioning the future of the nation’s high streets.

Key findings reveal the profound impact of economic, social, and technological changes on department stores, with a staggering 85% of stores formerly operated by Debenhams, House of Fraser, and John Lewis, among others, disappearing over the past decade. Shopping centres have also faced significant challenges, with higher vacancy rates compared to high streets and retail parks. Footfall remains persistently lower post-pandemic, emphasising the urgent need for innovative solutions.

The report highlights a shifting perspective among property stakeholders towards repurposing vacant buildings. It stresses the importance of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable development, tailored to meet evolving market demands.

Three case studies—Riverwalk in Durham, Cardiff’s Howells Department Store, and Deptford Market Yard in London—demonstrate how creative restoration and repurposing breathe new life into town centres, generating jobs and prosperity. The report outlines ten key principles for successful repurposing initiatives, emphasising viability, flexibility, and sustainability. Laurence Holmes, Planning Director at Lichfields Birmingham office and the report’s author, stresses the need for adaptive strategies.

“Our town centres are rapidly evolving,” says Holmes. “Asset managers, property owners, and landlords must be adaptable and consider radical repurposing to meet future demand.” While challenges loom, Holmes remains optimistic about the potential of repurposing existing assets. “Utilising existing built assets has never looked more appealing or necessary,” he says.

The report underscores the vital role of successful repurposing in shaping vibrant, community-centric town centres in the years ahead. For more information and to access the “Out with the Old, In with the New” Insight report, use this LINK.

PropertyPal announces new team: Cecil Hetherington as new Chair & Jordan Buchanan is new CEO

PropertyPal, Northern Ireland’s leading property portal, is excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Cecil Hetherington as the new Chair of the board and Jordan Buchanan as its new CEO, (pictured above). These leadership changes mark a significant milestone for the online platform, which attracts over 12 million visitors annually.

With over a decade of experience in the property industry, including roles as Chief Economist and Chief Operating Officer, Jordan Buchanan is well-positioned to lead PropertyPal into its next phase of growth. His extensive industry knowledge and leadership skills will drive the platform’s continued success as the leading website to search and advertise properties in Northern Ireland

Cecil Hetherington, a co-founder and the current Chair of Used Cars NI, will bring a wealth of marketplace experience to the company, providing strategic direction and valuable insights that will drive and strengthen PropertyPal’s growth plans. Errol Maxwell, who founded PropertyPal in 2007, will continue to be involved in the business, focusing specifically on enhancing the overall user experience.

Jordan Buchanan, CEO of PropertyPal, commented: “I am honoured to lead PropertyPal into the next chapter of its journey. Our focus remains on ensuring we are the most effective platform in lead generation for our customers, while delivering an exceptional user experience for our millions of searchers. We will be investing in our digital infrastructure to ensure PropertyPal remains at the forefront of innovation in the global property portal landscape. Additionally, we will continue to expand our marketing and branding efforts, which have been a cornerstone of our success in the Northern Ireland market. As a team, we are driven to innovate and provide solutions that meet the evolving desires of our users.”

Cecil Hetherington, Chair of PropertyPal, added: “I am thrilled to join PropertyPal at such an exciting time. With Jordan’s leadership and the dedicated team at PropertyPal, we are well-equipped to continue our trajectory of growth and innovation. Our commitment to our users and customers will guide our efforts as we work to enhance the PropertyPal platform and deliver outstanding value.”

Andrew Stanton’s PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’ in association with Estate Agent Networking & News Now publications. #proptech #property #realestate #digitaltransformation #startups

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Andrew Stanton Founder & Editor of 'PROPTECH-X' where his insights, connections, analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are based on writing 1.3M words annually. Plus meeting 1,000 Proptech founders, critiquing 400 decks and having had 130 clients as CEO of 'PROPTECH-PR', a consultancy for Proptech founders seeking growth and exit strategies. He also acts as an advisory for major global real estate companies on sales, acquisitions, market positioning & operations. With 100K followers & readers, he is the 'Proptech Realestate Influencer.'