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Caxtons surveyor Charlotte Bland joins North Kent Economic Development Group29th August 2014

Caxtons surveyor Charlotte Bland joins North Kent Economic Development GroupCommercial and investment chartered surveyor, Charlotte Bland, who is an associate director with Caxtons in Kent, has been  appointed to the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce North Kent Economic Development Group.

Charlotte said: “I am keen to inform others of the current property market from the perspective of someone ‘on the ground’. It is very easy to classify North Kent along with the rest of the South East but there are anomalies and subtle differences. Geographically, we are ideally placed to take advantage of excellent infrastructure and with government backing for the Ebbsfleet new town development, this is an area of future growth.” 

Born and bred in Kent, Charlotte will be able to use her knowledge of the local commercial property market on behalf of the Group.

Commenting on the office market, Charlotte said: "A large number of older, obsolete offices are being sold for conversion to residential following the introduction of the change in permitted development rights, which seems to be reducing the levels of supply significantly.

London suburbs, such as Bromley, are seeing a commercial property boom as buyers who are priced out of the centre of London look for cheaper offices."

For the industrial market, Charlotte believes that growth in the UK manufacturing base has led to increased demand for space, while severe supply constraints mean ‘build to suit’ deals reached the highest level seen since before the downturn.

"The Midlands was the main focus of this activity followed by the wider South East region. Prices have continued to harden for both prime and good secondary assets throughout 2014, reflecting the sheer weight of money in the market and competition for limited product.

Examples of key large format developments to commence this year included Invicta Riverside in Aylesford (Roxhill Developments Ltd) and Tower, West Thurrock (Blackrock & Bericote)."

According to Charlotte, the retail market is still underperforming with an ever increasing gap between the best and worst high streets. "Online sales continue to grow, and consequently traditional bricks and mortar stores in less desirable locations will continue to struggle."

“I think we should consider whether this is inhibiting the revival of the retail market, whilst high streets should also seek to move away from a solely retail offering and incorporate a leisure element in order to create a bigger pull effect on the local community. Another approach may be to make some or all car parking free and more conveniently located in town centres, as it is with many out of town retail centres, to encourage more shoppers to use their local high street. I am not saying that these measures will reverse fortunes but they could be considered as part of a bigger strategy to revitalise our high streets.” 

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