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Listed buildings gaining popularity with businesses, report says

Historic England has revealed the number of listed buildings occupied by a business has increased by 18% since 2012.

For their report, they conducted research in 50 cities and towns across England and found that there are now approximately 142,000 businesses operating in listed buildings across England.

They believe the increase is due to a rise in the number of branded retailers choosing to trade from listed buildings. Since 2012 the number of listed buildings occupied by a brand has increased by 154% to 18,550.

Pub chains Greene King and Marstons top the table as the largest branded retail occupiers of listed buildings. They are closely followed by large coffee chains like Caffe Nero, Starbucks and Costa. There has been a surge in well-known food and drink brands trading from listed buildings – between 2012 and 2018 they increased occupation by 173% to 4,754.

The research reveals that whilst there has been a decline in the number of independent retailers occupying listed buildings since 2012, (down by 18% to 51,151) they are still much more likely than branded retailers to be found in these types of properties on our high streets and in our towns and cities (51,151 vs 18,550).

A survey of commercial occupiers of listed buildings found that for two-thirds of respondents (69%) said historic buildings convey a positive image to customers and clients.

The report adds that historic buildings can offer businesses and brands something different and are an alternative to average corporate office buildings.

The report gives the example of the restored Toffee Factory in the Lower Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle is now home to digital and creative businesses.

The valley, once home to the coal, glass and pottery industries, is today an established hub for cultural industries, home to a wide range of art, music, design and print studios. Rich in heritage, the valley is one of Newcastle’s prime regeneration areas and sits on the edge of the city centre.

Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said: ‘The increase in businesses trading from listed buildings shows that heritage remains at the heart of our high streets and society. It proves that these buildings are not just attractive, but also adaptable for the modern world.

‘We are committed to promoting and protecting the nation’s historic architecture and through our £55 million package for heritage on the high street, will work with businesses to help breathe new life into our listed buildings.’

 

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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