Deputy Carla McNulty Bauer
The Commerce and Employment Department
Raymond Falla House
26 May 2010
Dear Deputy McNulty Bauer
Consultation Response – Guernsey Retail Study and Future Retail Strategy for Guernsey
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the retail study prepared by Roger Tyms & Partners (RTP). It cannot be overstated how important it is that a true picture of the current position of the retail industry in Guernsey is established, as the decisions that are based on this analysis will impact on the overall economic wellbeing of the Island and have a significant impact on most of the local population.
The Chamber of Commerce through its Retail Sub-Committee has facilitated the formation of The Guernsey Retail Forum which is an informal group of retailers and owners who have a relevant and material interest in the development and maintenance of a sustainable retail industry in Town and other retail centres in Guernsey. The Forum group has commissioned DTZ, an internationally recognised expert consultancy and agency company, to prepare a detailed assessment and response report which examines the RTP report in considerable detail and this assessment of the RTR report has informed our view of how we should respond in this public consultation exercise.
The reason the DTZ report was commissioned was that many members of the Retail Forum had immediate concerns both with the nature and content of the RTP report and also with the scale and scope of the proposed new retail development at Leale’s Yard. The Chamber of Commerce wishes to formally submit the DTZ report to both the Commerce and Employment Department and Environment Department as a part of the public consultation exercise and Chamber shares with DTZ the concerns expressed in the report.
Key findings of the report include the following:
- The RTP report suggests that it would be possible to plan a Guernsey Retail Strategy on the basis that special forms of trading on the Island and principally internet shopping could decline or at best remain static. The DTZ report finds that this is not a realistic assumption to make and if more realistic figures are used then the correction significantly affects the calculation for the potential retail demand in Guernsey, so much so that the need for the amount of new retail space proposed at Leale’s Yard is seriously questioned.
- Further, Guernsey will by 2015 when the Leale’s Yard scheme is likely to have established itself in the local retail market, have nothing like the retail demand required to support the proposed retail development. If the Leale’s Yard scheme were to be built in its present form then it is likely that £71 million of trade would be lost to existing Island businesses and or established retail areas, comprising 25.6%–36.8% of the comparison goods market in Guernsey. The DTZ report demonstrates that the RTP report projections are not probable or realistic and therefore the provision of large amounts of new retail space will have a highly significant impact of the existing retail businesses of Guernsey. ‘This would lead to widespread closures of shops and greatly increased vacancy particularly in Town‘.
- No definitive study has been undertaken by the Leale’s Yard Developer or RTP to examine the retail impact of the proposed development on the existing retail provision in Guernsey. This is a glaring omission and we believe it is not possible to form a retail strategy for Guernsey without having such a study in place.
- DTZ have examined the four retail scenarios put forward by RTP and have found that they do not ‘comprise all the potential options. For example, other options such as focussing food or bulk retailing at the Bridge and comparison retailing at the Town are not assessed. The potential for Town to ‘live off ‘ visitor or specialist retail trade as opposed to the main stream high street shopping is not considered.’
- DTZ find that ‘the assessment methodology used by RTP for the retail scenarios is flawed and incomplete. For example, six policy objectives are set below but there is no source material (States corporate or UAP objectives) to suggest that these are right or indeed the only policy objectives that should be evaluated.’
- There are many other important points made in the DTZ Report which underscores the need to review the adequacy of the RTP report so as to inform the forthcoming debate on a future Guernsey Retail Strategy.
The Chamber of Commerce therefore commends the DTZ Report to the Commerce and Employment Department and the Planning Department and requests a meeting or series of meetings with all relevant States Departments so as to ensure that the continued dialogue on the future of the retail industry is based on sound and reliable information and scenario planning.
Chamber of Commerce Retail Sub Committee
CC Deputy Peter Sirrett
Minister, Environment Department