commercial property lambert smith hampton

News - 09/01/2015

LSH takes a trip back to the future

In 1985, Marty McFly and Doc Brown – the lead characters in the Hollywood blockbuster Back To The Future – transported themselves forward 30 years to visit 2015.

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The makers of the movie made a number of brave predictions about technology. Some were pie in the sky, such as hover boards, while others were amazingly accurate including handheld computers and video conferencing.

Now, at the start of 2015, the Bristol and South West office of national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) has gone ‘back to the future’ to make some predictions for the commercial property market of 2040.

Marcus Plaw – director of planning

Car ownership will continue to rise with the further shift in concern from CO2 emissions, as cars become more ‘green’ and efficient, to that of road capacity and congestion. 

Electric cars will increase in popularity but won’t be the solution, as it has been predicted by others that electric vehicles (with factory-fitted flux capacitors) will amount to less than 1% of all cars on the road in 20 or so years’ time. I hope to see a higher proportion of electric vehicles than forecast.

From a local perspective, Bristol will see significant urban expansion – notably to the east and South West as initially planned some 10 years ago.  A more sensible and flexible approach to housing densities will see more open urban environments akin to the Garden Cities of the early 20th century. 

Whilst this will fly in the face of sustainability, there will be an outcry over the size of residential properties and associated cramped living conditions, with people demanding houses with gardens and not apartment living – yet another urban planning revolution.

I can only hope that there’s a Bristol arena to host the Rolling Stones’ Centenarian World Tour.

Jaime Blakeley-Glover – director of public sector advisory services

Town centres will continue to evolve and become places of leisure and to browse in shops, rather than to buy. They are therefore much more tight-knit and focused around parts of towns and cities that define their identity such as historic areas or riversides. Continued population growth and congestion has made public transport and park and ride schemes/metros more popular

Offices and workspace: Technology has continued to evolve and people work flexibly at office hubs and home. Offices focused more and more on meetings and people. Hot desking is a thing of the past.

Housing: The UK has finally woken up to pre-fab housing due to quality and environmental performance. Nine out of 10 homes built in the UK will now be prefabs.

Public Sector: There is still a public sector deficit despite continued governments’ attempts to reduce it. Access to public services is now almost wholly through the internet or joint public sector hubs. Libraries are now basically cafes and meeting points given that almost all books are read on 20th generation Kindle.

High Speed rail now connects Bristol with London, the South West and the North.

Energy is still a massive problem in the UK but scientists have now cracked nuclear fission using lithium from Bolivia, which is the next big global superpower.

Pete Cole – director of lease advisory

The Landlord and Tenant Act is already 60 years old. Leases are becoming shorter, and renewals will shortly outnumber reviews. The Act will be reformed and simplified. PACT (Professional Arbitration on Court Terms) will become the default route for resolving rent disputes, and recourse to the courts will only be available on strictly defined and restrictive criteria.

As far as repairs and dilapidations go, we will become more European and follow a trend more towards internal repairing leases, with more robust and explicit sinking fund arrangements for PPM.

Also, as result of shorter lease lengths, there will be increasing pressure to move away from Upward Only rent reviews. Ireland has led the way with statutory intervention - will we follow?

Rents are already re-based to OMRV at LTA renewal, and reality bites for excluded leases and in re-gear deals. Tenants will be less likely to exercise a break on ‘tactical’ grounds if the co-incident review is genuinely to OMRV?   

Peter Musgrove – director of office agency

Just 10 years ago people were predicting the end of offices and saying that people would all be working from home. This hasn’t happened and we believe there will continue to be a move back towards office working and a decrease in flexi-working locations.

The future for offices will not be about moving people away from offices but working smarter within the office – we are seeing a growth in agile working and I believe this will continue.  In 30 years’ time the office will look different but there will still be a demand for places where people can meet, share ideas and work in teams.   

These office locations may change. With decreased journey times out to the regions there will be a continued shift as companies relocate to areas outside London.  The rental levels and pressure on accommodation in the capital will mean that companies will continue to look to the regions to locate, and with the improvements in transport links - especially rail - the need to be in London will decrease. 

Paul Stevens – director of rating

Non-domestic rates are declared ‘not fit for purpose’ as a result of so much tinkering that any sight of their original purpose is lost.

The LSH team will be watching with interest to see if any of their predictions – from nuclear fission and electric cars with flux capacitors, to the resurgence of prefab homes and the rise of HS8 – become reality. 


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