The new planning regime for out-of-town development proposed under PPS6 is unlikely to lead to a surge in retail park development, according to analysis from CB Richard Ellis.
Some commentators say that the proposed relaxation of restrictions on large-format stores in edge-of-town locations could lead to a return to the free-for-all of the 1980s, but CBRE's analysis shows this is unlikely.
In its latest Retail Warehouses in the Pipeline report, the agent says: 'Major planning obstacles in the way of out-of-town development remain and will continue to both suppress pipeline levels and cap completion rates.
'Finding sites that are viable for retailers, with a possibility of obtaining planning permission, will remain extremely difficult.'
CBRE calculates that 3.5 million sq ft (322,000 sq m) of new retail warehousing was completed last year, down marginally on the 4 million sq ft (371,600 sq m) finished in 2002. Judging by present levels of construction activity, the agent expects completions this year to be roughly in line with last year, at 3.3 million to 3.8 million sq ft (301,925 sq m to 348,375 sq m).
However, with supply likely to be constrained for the foreseeable future and retailer demand for good schemes remaining high, CBRE forecasts that the very strong rental growth seen in the out-of-town retail sector over recent years is set to continue.