High Street Conveyancing Firms and Estate Agents urged to support Mary Portas

High Street Conveyancing Firms and Estate Agents urged to support Mary Portas

Mary “Queen of Shops” Portas and her recent review highlight some important considerations for estate agents and conveyancers, according to The Bold Group, a membership body of over 120 independent high street law firms.
Following the recently released The Portas Review, which provided an independent review into the future of our high streets, The Bold Group is urging high street conveyancers and estate agents to take note. The report highlights Portas’s concern relating to“the progressive sprawl of the supermarkets into need-based services…which were once the exclusive preserve of the high street”.The impact of this is being felt by many small, local businesses across the country, as they are squeezed out by bigger players. The Bold Group is urging estate agents and conveyancers to play their part in protecting the high streets where they are based and the local communities, which they serve.
Rob Hailstone, Founder of The Bold Group comments: “The threat from big supermarket chains increasingly providing more and more local services and as a result, destroying our once varied and independent high streets, is a very real one, and estate agents and conveyancers are not exempt. With the continued creation of new legal service providers in the form of Alternative Business Structures (ABS), high street conveyancers and estate agents face increasing pressures and competition, especially if the Co-op, already active in the legal market, ends up buying over 600 Lloyds Bank branches.
As such, it is important for these businessesto ensure they are part of any groups or membership organisations that may be Government or Local Authority empowered to make changes to the look and feel of our high streets. That way, they will be in a strong position to help shape and protect the future of the high streets where they are based.”
The Portas Review contains 28 recommendations, the first of which is the putting in place of a ‘Town Team’ -a visionary, strategic and strong operational management team for high streets. Within the Review, Portas also suggests that “charismatic, local people with a vested interest in protecting their town centres and revitalising their communities” should get involved.
Hailstone echoes this: “Solicitors, conveyancers and estate agents should take the opportunity to become part of any ‘Town Teams’ that may be created. They have local knowledge, contacts and expertise that could be invaluable. It’s important for estate agents to be aware of the new threats facing many high street conveyancing firms. Agents could end up losing the local firms which they have established relationships with — the firms that they are able to recommend to customers with confidence, because they know they are reliable, they provide a good service, offer competitive prices and in some cases pay a referral fee.
The game isn’t over for conveyancers or the slightly less threatened estate agents but they cannot afford to sit back and let others plan the future of their high streets. Whether you like Portas’s recommendations or not, being pro-active and getting involved is going to be key to ensuring a successful future for those independent firms, which add value and variety to our high streets as well as forming a vital element of the home buying and selling process.”

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