An Aberdeen shoe shop could be turned into a restaurant when its lease ends, after new plans were lodged.
Aurora Planning Limited submitted the proposals for 111-115 Union Street, which is currently occupied by Shoe Zone, on behalf of Aegon UK Property Fund Limited.
It is hoped a change of use will be approved, which will allow owners to turn the site into a restaurant.
The lease on Shoe Zone is due to come to an end next year.
A statement from the agents said it is “unlikely to be renewed” and is “indicative of the challenges currently facing the retail sector as a result of the pattern of retailing having changed rapidly over recent years in response to consumer demand and advances in technology.”
A unit for food and drink use has been stated as preferable, as it will maximise the potential to re-let the unit when the current lease ends, and that there is a lack of demand for retail units in the city centre.
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A supporting statement submitted alongside the application by Aurora Planning Limited states: “Our client, AEGON UK Property Fund Limited, is seeking planning permission for the change of use of the existing retail premises (Class 1) at 111 – 115 Union Street to allow the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises (Class 3), and ancillary take-away use (Sui Generis). No physical works to either the inside or the outside of the building are proposed at this stage, although that may ultimately change depending on the requirements of the end user. Relevant consents for any such changes, including any signage, would be sought at the appropriate time.
“111 – 115 Union Street is currently occupied by Shoe Zone shoe shop, but its lease is due to come to an end next year and is unlikely to be renewed.
“This is indicative of the challenges currently facing the retail sector as a result of the pattern of retailing having changed rapidly over recent years in response to consumer demand and advances in technology, including a notable increase in online shopping and the growth of factory outlets – a trend exacerbated by the current coronavirus pandemic.
“This in turn has had an impact on high street shopping, with reduced demand for bricks and mortar shop units as a result, a demand anticipated to fall further still as a result of social distancing measures arising from coronavirus health and safety requirements.
“The difficulties in re-letting retail units in the current economic climate in Aberdeen are also well known. As well as the application site, there are five vacant units and one unit that, whilst occupied, has a ‘to let’ sign displayed, on the south side of this section of Union Street, between Bridge Street and Market Street.”