The number of new shopping centres being completed this year is likely to fall by around 40% below the 10-year annual average.

According to research from property agent Cushman & Wakefield, just 80,000 sq metres of shopping centre space was added in the first half of 2010.

In the second half a few small-to-medium sized schemes are expected to be completed, pushing the total space added this year to 215,000 sq metres, representing a 1.3% increase on 2009 – the second lowest annual increase recorded in the UK in 17 years.

Three new schemes or extensions opened during the first half of 2010, the largest of which was the 38,000sq.m Eldon Square South in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The UK Shopping Centre Development report warned that development activity is likely to “remain subdued for the foreseeable future” with “completion levels not likely to pick up before late 2012/early 2013”.

Greater London is the centre with the most development activity, with three centres currently under construction, including the 52,000 sq mt One New Change in the City, which opens next month. Stratford City, covering 175,000sq m, opens next year, as does the 12,500 sq mt Central Square in Wembley.

The openings will create 230,000sq m of new shopping centre space, representing a 14% increase in total shopping centre space.