Extent of retail development taking place within town centres in England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Data on retail development within town centres.
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Commercial and industrial floorspace and rateable value
Commercial and industrial floorspace and rateable value statistics of 1 April each year are produced by Communities and Local Government in collaboration with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
These data are of use to local authority planners and policy makers, the property profession and others requiring information on the non-domestic stock. The data also feed directly into the Communities and Local Government project to identify Areas of Town Centre Activity (ATCAs).
The dataset provides information on five different types of commercial and industrial properties (known as hereditaments) in England and Wales.
These five types are broadly known as 'bulk classes' and include the following properties:
Other bulk premises
Areas of Town Centre Activity
Communities and Local Government identifies around 1,280 ATCAs (town centres) and around 600 retail cores in England and Wales using a statistical model that incorporates Annual Business Inquiry employee data and commercial and industrial floorspace data. Statistics for employees, commercial and industrial floorspace and rateable values are shown for each of these town centres.
Extent of retail development in England
The non-domestic floorspace statistics in combination with the ATCA boundaries are also used to monitor the extent of retail development in town centre locations and edge of town centre locations in England.
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Non-domestic Floorspace and Rateable Value Statistics
The commercial and industrial floorspace and rateable value statistics are derived from a download of administrative ratings data from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
The VOA assesses the 1.8 million non-domestic properties in England and Wales that are liable for business rates and collects information on these properties, including the type of property, the location, the floorspace and rateable value.
The VOA database is designed to support the timely and accurate assessment of rateable values and the generation of statistics is a secondary role of the databases and considerable processing is required before the data can be used for statistical purposes.
For full details on the processing stages, consult Commercial and Industrial Floorspace and Rateable Value Statistics 1998-2004 and Commercial and Industrial Floorspace and Rateable Value Statistics 2005.
The Areas of Town Centre Activity (‘ATCAs’ or ‘town centres’) boundaries are produced using a statistical modelling procedure that allows consistent comparison of town centres across England and Wales. The boundaries produced are different to local authority planning boundaries as these are not defined on a comparable basis, although local authorities have been consulted on the accuracy of the boundaries and statistics.
The statistical model makes use of business information on the number of employees in the retail and office sectors from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Business Inquiry and statistics on retail and office properties from the VOA on 1 April every year, to identify areas that have a high density of economic activity that is typically associated with town centres.
Having identified the boundaries of the town centres (which are drawn around areas of high density of activity), each one is populated with the employee and property statistics, to produce a consistent set of boundaries and statistics.
The methodology employed to determine ATCAs has some limitations; it is not possible to define some of the smaller primary retail areas within the main agglomerations. This was most notable in Central London where many of the key concentrations of town centre activity (such as the West End) cannot be shown.
In order to capture these types of area, which are predominantly retail concentrations, a trimmed down model was produced that only modelled retail activity (retail employment, retail floorspace and retail diversity). The resulting boundaries are called ‘Retail Cores’.
Town Centres and Retail Core boundaries are available for all centres sized two hectares and over. Statistics are only shown for centres of four hectares and over. Some statistics for some centres are suppressed as they are disclosive.
The Town Centre and Retail Core statistics should be treated with some caution. Floorspace and rateable value statistics are considered more reliable than the employee data as they are based on information collected for all individual non-domestic properties. The employee data from the Annual Business Inquiry are based on a sample survey and employee counts for some businesses are based on estimates produced by ONS. There is therefore error associated with the estimates of employees for individual town centres.
More information on how the boundaries are derived can be found on the Communities and Local Government website.
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