It has seemed inevitable for some time, but like many trends in planning it takes a while for a pattern to start to emerge.   But take the seemingly insatiable demand for housing (or perhaps our inability to meet quite normal targets) and the over-supply of retail premises and its not rocket science to predict the redevelopment of retail sites to residential.

The opportunities are obvious:  retail parks that can be redeveloped in their entirety;  shopping centres where there are opportunities develop upwards, particularly those well served by public transport and simply converting redundant high street shops to flats.  Boosting the vitality of town centres with a new resident population could even be a win-win.

Inevitably there will be occasions when fragmented ownership issues might need the threat of public sector intervention to broker deals to unlock sites and the demands for affordable housing may come as a shock to some, but for the forseeable future we can expect to see more and more residential development opportunities coming from former retail sites.