How Wychavon District Council were able to understand occupancy and vacancy trends in its town centres.

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Vacancy Rate



Wychavon District Council partnered with LDC in order to better understand occupancy and vacancy trends in its town centres.

The insight that they gained from LocalDataOnline (LDO) enabled them to identify opportunities (for inward investment) and risks (occupiers likely to leave) within the retail and leisure mix of their towns.

Today, LDC’s insights are an integral part of Wychavon’s planning policy and economic development strategy.


Wychavon District Council is one of 6 district councils located in the County of Worcestershire.

It is the planning authority for the three main centres of Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore.

The district has a population of 190,000 with low unemployment (below 1%).

Challenge 1:

Understanding the competitive environment

Evesham town centre, within the Wychavon District, was experiencing a higher than GB average vacancy rate of 18%. Looking at the demographics of the town, in LDO, it had a catchment of over 190,000 people and more than 50% of these were in the ABC1 social classification. It was evident that they needed to evaluate why the town centre was not the thriving centre that it should be.


In order to understand the occupancy and vacancy rates for Evesham, LDC worked with Wychavon District Council to draw a bespoke boundary for the town centre in LDO. With a bespoke boundary drawn it was easy to see that the vacancy levels were actually lower within the boundary. Further analysis revealed that the higher vacancy rates were driven by a clustering of vacant units in Riverside Shopping Centre.

In addition, by running a Location Summary report on the bespoke boundary, the council were able to view a list of all retail openings and closures. This allowed them to identify immediate changes that were taking place.

Once compared to the current retail offer they were able to understand the town’s requirements for an optimal occupier mix.

Bespoke boundary for Evesham Town CentreBespoke_Boundary_for_whycavon

“We chose to work with LDC because the depth of data is nationwide which enables us to make the widest comparisons. The information is also presented in an easy to digest and communicate way, which helps us explain complicated issues to stakeholders.”

– Shawn Riley, Evesham Business Partnerships Manager

Challenge 2:

Location Review

With the anticipated arrival of a Waitrose store to Evesham, the council were keen to see what the impact of this would be on the town’s growth. They needed to find out if similar towns (in size and retail offer) had experienced growth after a Waitrose had opened.


Using LDO’s Location Overview they were able to search for all locations within a relative geographical region that had a similar size and retail mix. The sample also included towns that had a Waitrose. As they could see the historical changes from these comparable towns it was clear to them that the arrival of a Waitrose would have a positive effect on the town.

This impact would also benefit the surrounding retail and leisure occupiers by increasing the footfall and passing trade. Making Evesham an attractive town to have a presence in.

Wychavon table

Products used:

“The relationship with LDC worked very well. Although the data source is fairly simple to navigate, we knew that we could ask LDC to show us how we interrogate the data in order to answer specific questions.”

– Shawn Riley, Evesham Business Partnerships Manager

Challenge 3:

Attracting inward investment

To reduce the vacancy rate for Evesham, the council would need to attract new occupiers to the town. However, understanding the over and under supply in Evesham and which retailers would want to invest in the town was a challenge.


Building on the findings from the comparable towns report LDC produced a GAP analysis to understand which retailers were present in these towns but not present in Evesham. This was then reviewed with the under and over supply analysis of retail offer in Evesham.

This analysis also enabled the council to understand similarities and occupational differences between Evesham and the target towns such as populations, retail stock, classification mix and vacancy rates.

The report delivered astounding results, highlighting over 450 target retailers and 81 leisure occupiers.

The council were able to compile a short list of premium and mass occupiers in order to target and pitch for them to open new locations in Evesham.

Footfall Market Harborough
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