20
Jan
2011
0

How the recession transformed the high street

In an article from the latest issue of Intelligence magazine for the land and property market, Guy Grainger, Head of Retail at Jones Lang LaSalle, gives his views on how shopping habits will change and the importance of location of stores for retailers in the current environment.

High street retailers face an epic battle next year, with consumer spending under pressure and competition from out-of-town parks and supermarkets. When Sir Philip Green announced that he would close up to 300 regional stores operated by his Arcadia brand, it was interpreted as another threat to the vibrancy of the UK high street.

Woolworths was just one victim of the recession

High street Woolworths stores were just one victim of the recession

“This is a very common theme,” says Grainger. “It gets in the press because it’s Philip Green, but really it could be any other retailer out there.” HMV and Game Group are two he names as walking away from less profitable regional stores when leases come to an end. The result? Rising vacancies in the high streets and shopping centres of affected towns.

“London and the South East are proving to be very robust in the downturn, but the regional picture is not nice to see,’ he says. ‘The locations that retailers choose to walk away from could be areas of high unemployment, or high streets that are overshadowed by a large out-of-town retail destination or food store,” he adds.

“Spend has shifted from the high street to somewhere else. The supermarkets are the real powerhouses; they are all expanding, and they sell more non-food lines than ever before.”

What our data shows

By comparing the number of retail addresses across Britain today with the amount in October 2008 (just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers), we can see that:

Estate agencies are down by an average of 9.2%. Our data shows that the North West and Waleswere hit hardest, with numbers of estate agency offices falling far more than the national average at 15.4 %. The South East (down by 14.8%) and West Midlands (down by 11%) also suffered significant falls.

Intelligence

Intelligence

Building societies are down by 28.2%. London suffered the biggest fall, with the amount of building society offices decreasing by 46.9%. Meanwhile, the South East, Scotland and North West were also hit hard, experiencing drops of 33.8%, 33.7% and 30.1% respectively.

The number of auction houses across the UK have fallen by 14%, whilst the amount of employment agencies on the high street has shrunk by 13.4%

In comparison, one of the only types of outlet on the high street to increase in number were bookies, which opened in 280 new locations, reflecting a jump of more than 5%.

[Picture innpictime via Flickr]

14
Jan
2011
0

To infinity and beyond…with food waste

What do River Cottage and the Royal Air Force have in common with us at Ordnance Survey? The A700 Rocket composter.

Huw and Gwen from Tidy Planet came in recently to do some training for our new industrial composter, so in the future we’ll be composting all our food waste. At our ‘tea points’ around the building there are compost bins and any food waste from our Restaurant will also be included. Before you know it, all our waste will become lovely compost to spread onto our grounds at Adanac Park.

The A700 Rocket composter - image courtesy of Tidy Planet

The A700 Rocket composter – image courtesy of Tidy Planet

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6
Jan
2011
0

Changes to the OS OpenData licence

opendata2From today, anyone who visits the OS OpenData site, where they can download a wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping for free, will notice something a little different.

That’s because we’ve incorporated the Open Government Licence, the new government wide licence, developed by The National Archives, which enables easy access to public sector information.

The Open Government Licence is a key element of the Government’s commitment to greater transparency. It is the licence used by data.gov.uk and provides a single set of terms and conditions for anyone wishing to use or license freely available government information.

The licence is designed so that developers and entrepreneurs wishing to use government data to create new applications will no longer need to formally apply for permission. And, the new licence is interoperable with other internationally recognised licensing models, such as Creative Commons.

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14
Dec
2010
1

Our first annual festive geography quiz

frustrationThinking about winding down the grey matter as Christmas approaches? Well think again, as it’s time for our first annual (hopefully) festive geography quiz! To be honest, the questions aren’t very festive but they most definitely are geography related.

Alas in the age of austerity the only prize we can offer is a sense of pride at being a geography wizard and generally more intelligent than everyone else.

The first person to leave all the correct answers as a comment will be officially crowned as the winner – thinking caps on and try not to resort to Google immediately! And you never know, just some of the answers might be lurking in previous blog posts…

1. What name do islands in England, Scotland and Wales all share?

2. Britain’s longest river rises in Wales; what is it called?

3. Which islands lie between Iceland and the Shetland Islands?

4. Which area of land in England is administered by Verderers?

5. What is the most easterly point of mainland Great Britain, and which OS Landranger Map is it on? – OSGB grid reference please!

6. What is the length of the coastline of Great Britain, including all major islands, at Mean High Water at 1:10,000 scale, to the nearest 10 kilometres?

7. What is England’s Second Largest Cathedral?

8. Why is Sixpenny Handley, Dorset, so called?

9. Name the three towns or cities that have contained Ordnance Survey’s Headquarters?

And finally,

10. What was the first map to contain the words Ordnance Survey?

[Image by Sybren A. Stüvel via Flickr]

6
Dec
2010
1

A trip around Britain’s festive place names

After the fun we had compiling a list of Britain’s Spookiest Place Names back in October, I thought it was only right that with just 19 days until the big day to turned our attention to the festive season and the nation’s best Christmas themed locations…

From Cold Christmas (Hertfordshire) and Christmas Cross (Shropshire) to Holly Green (Worcestershire) and Ivy Tree (Cumbria), there are places scattered across the country where it feels like Christmas all year round – even if only in name.

As it approaches midnight on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to hang up your Stocking (Herefordshire) and leave out a Carrot (Angus) for Rudolph. You can pucker up at Mistletoe Oak in Herefordshire, dream of a white Christmas in Snow Falls (North Yorkshire), or make your way to Wiseman’s Bridge (Pembrokeshire) by the light of a Star (Somerset) – although you may like to use a good map instead.

Some places are more festive than others!

Some places are more festive than others!

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30
Nov
2010
16

Mapping the Southampton Blitz 70 years on

Damage to Ordnance Survey's London Road building

Damage to Ordnance Survey’s London Road building

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Blitz, and whilst for some people the word might be almost synonymous with the bombing of London, many other towns and cities across the country also suffered terribly from Luftwaffe attacks.

One of those was Southampton. As an important dockyard on the south coast of England, home of the Supermarine factory and birthplace of the Spitfire, it was a prime target.

During the nights of 30 November and 1 December 1940, the Southampton Blitz reached its climax as the city came under sustained attack. Hundreds of tonnes of bombs were dropped during the two nights, whilst on 30 November alone some 634 individual properties were left ablaze – including our then head office on London Road.

A report by the Ministry of Food describes how the resulting destruction “equalled anything so far in aerial attack on this country” but even so, it is very hard to now comprehend the scale of the damage, let alone the impact it had on the people who lived through it.

So with the help of The National Archives and Southampton City Council, we’ve built a map using OS OpenSpace that pinpoints where 712 of the bombs fell based on records from the time. We hope that by seeing the bomb sites overlaid on modern mapping, it will help people better relate to the scale of the damage and the courage and suffering of those who lived through it.

You can clearly see the heavy concentration of direct hits around the docks and industrial areas in Woolston and Itchen, as well as the city centre itself.

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25
Nov
2010
1

Mapping the Olympic Park

The Olympic Park

The Olympic Park

We received some very positive feedback following Liz’s blog post a few weeks ago about our Engineering the Olympic Park map.

The Institution of Civil Engineers was inundated with requests for copies!

The original print run has now been distributed to ICE members and to education groups visiting the Olympic site.

So, as we’re not able to send out any more copies, we thought it would be a great idea to make it available to download (pdf).

Hopefully it will give you a taster of the development that has taken place on the site since 2001 and the contribution that Civil Engineers have made.

Enjoy!

3
Nov
2010
0

UK Location meet a metadata milestone for INSPIRE

UK Location launched the beta version of the Metadata Editor last week, built by us at Ordnance Survey. We built it using the GeoNetwork platform and have made the Metadata Editor available in two formats – a web-based on line version and an downloadable version. The UK Location Metadata Editor enables users to create, edit and validate UK Location compliant discovery metadata resources.

We’re one of many UK public bodies that produces data which falls within the scope of the Inspire Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe). The Directive aims to ensure that geographic information joins up between European countries. This can then help in major environmental disasters such as forest fires, floods and industrial explosions that do not respect national boundaries.

The Inspire Directive aims to find common ground among European countries (Image Andy Hyde on Flickr)

The Inspire Directive aims to find common ground among European countries (Image Andy Hyde on Flickr)

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