Renaissance of the local trader
While Newcastle city centre is a hive of activity, it’s easy to overlook the contribution of the city’s suburbs to the region’s commercial property market revival.
Places such as Heaton and Gosforth are thriving hubs that have witnessed plenty of recent activity in the industrial and retail sectors.
This activity has led to the return of the local independent trader to the city’s suburbs, which are populated with quirky cafes and boutique gift and craft shops that weren’t there a few years ago, when the shadow of recession loomed large over the region.
Now, with many large city centre-based retailers still struggling to recover from the recession, opportunities have arisen for smaller, agile independent companies to open up in strategically well placed but less cluttered suburban areas.
Earlier this year, Bradley Hall acquired a mixed-use parade of shops on Canterbury Way in Wideopen. Every single unit – including a small tea room, a butcher’s shop, bakery, hair salon and vets – has now been let to a local operator.
Other areas are benefiting, too. Chillingham Road, the main commercial road in Heaton, is buzzing with activity while there are high occupancy rates in business units in nearby Gosforth. Meanwhile, in the market town of Alnwick – admittedly a bit far out to be classed as a Newcastle suburb – we have let four shops to small retailers and all of them say that business is brisk.
The emergence of smaller independent traders in the suburbs also extends to the industrial sector, with companies moving to locations such as Cobalt Business Park and the Brunswick and Simonside industrial estates. In the last couple of years these companies have benefited from generous rental deals as developers seek to fill unoccupied units.
Being based in Newcastle city centre has its advantages – but the revival of the local trader in suburban areas cannot be ignored. It has had a positive impact on the local economy and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.