Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 301–316 | Cite as

Measuring the Impact of Out-of-town Retail Development on Town Centre Retail Property in England and Wales

  • Gaynor Astbury
  • Mark Thurstain-GoodwinEmail author


This study is a quantitative investigation into the retail markets of England and Wales between 2005 and 2010. We examine the performance of retail over space and time with particular reference to town centre activity and the impact of large off-centre retail, over a period of economic recession. We also estimate the relative income generated for Local Authorities by town-centre or off-centre location, to propound market significance by geography. Despite a widespread discussion of the impact of de-centralised planning over more than 30 years there have been no detailed studies quantifying this impact; the results aim to address a gap in current empirical evidence at the national extent. We use Valuation Office Agency (VOA) business rates as a proxy performance measure and geo-statistically defined town centre boundaries to create a nationally and statistically consistent methodology. The variation of business ‘rateable values’ is in part a facet of economic performance, and spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allowed us to illustrate those areas over and under-performing the national economic market over the same period. New off-centre large retail developments were identified over the same time frame, to identify any correlations between new developments and the resilience of proximate town centres. The study highlighted multi-scale forces and patterns of impact and found a relationship between the proximity of new off-cenre large retail developments and retail floor space value change over time in town centres.


Town centre Retail Superstore Retail Park Rateable Values GIS 



This work was made possible through fellowship funding from the UK National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and the Talisman research group at the University of Leeds and University College London (UCL). Thanks is given for advice and support throughout the work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geofutures LtdBathUK

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