C2S Talks 2021 with Simon Tothill, Robert Hitchins: Hopes, New Beginnings and Predictions for 2021
Robert Hitchins Ltd is one of the one of the leading property developers and investors in the South West and South Wales. The Gloucestershire-based business deals with the full development process, from site acquisition and planning through to development and investment.
Simon Tothill, Property and Development Director for Robert Hitchins Ltd, looks forward to 2021 with optimism.
“The first quarter of 2021 will remain difficult until the Covid-19 threat subsides and business is able to forge ahead with confidence.
“In the commercial property market, Covid has taught us that most people can work flexibly thanks to technology. This was already starting to happen pre-pandemic but Covid has pushed this forward.
“That said, many employers are expressing concern that their workforce is too remote and that employees are experiencing isolation issues. I am firmly of the view that there is still the need for physical interaction and that demand for office space is definitely still there, albeit the nature and form of office fit-outs will be different.
“At Robert Hitchins, we have continued to keep an open dialogue and worked closely with our occupiers to support them in 2020. As a family firm that continually seeks to provide the right quality accommodation, we will continue to do all we can to plan for and accommodate the changing requirements that face us.
“I expect the market will experience a bounce-back in 2022 when a relaxation of the current restrictions is likely to release pent-up demand.
“The ever-growing influence of the internet which has been supercharged by the pandemic has led to increased demand in distribution warehousing. This is likely to continue as everyone gets more familiar with ‘keyboard shopping’.
“The total retail offer of physical and cyber stores will continue to evolve as consumers seek a balance of the two with High Streets showing a reduction in pure retail space whilst additional mixed-use development will replace surplus stores with activity during the day and evening.
“Out-of-town retail stores will offer opportunities to both retailers and distribution companies, and the development of outlets sitting alongside internet channels selling returned goods and end-of-lines stock will prosper in key locations such as the Designer Outlet Cotswolds at J9 of the M5.”