No, really, markets do sort themselves out


You'll recall the terrified bleating from the usual suspects over the way that the supermarkets were sitting on all that land that could be used? As we recall said bleating the first set of allegations were that they had the land banks to make sure that other supermarket chains couldn't build stores in an area. Our reaction to that was, well, issue more planning chittys then. More recently the story moved on to how the supermarkets were sitting on all that land that should be used for housing instead. To which our reaction was, well, issue more planning chittys then. We're really not short of land to build on in this country, we're only short of land someone is allowed to build upon.

And what is happening now?

Britain’s supermarkets are building on just 6pc of the land they control across the UK, underlining the problem they face with undeveloped sites as the industry battles tumbling sales.

New figures show that the pipeline of new grocery stores in the UK is 46.61m sq ft, the equivalent of more than 1,000 acres. However, just 2.8m sq ft of these new stores are actually under construction.

Building work on stores has fallen by 20pc compared to a year ago as the “big four” supermarket chains – Tesco, Asda, J Sainsbury and Wm Morrison – suffer from tumbling sales and profits.

This means that 43.81m sq ft of land across the country is sitting unutilised by grocery retailers according to property agent CBRE. This land is either subject to a proposal for a new food store, or planning permission has already been granted.

The supermarkets simply do not want to build more stores on that land that they own. That land will, therefore, in the fullness of time (given the time and effort it will take to change said planning chittys, this system is not known for its efficiency) be developed to some other purpose, most likely that housing that was being called for.

And all being done without a politician or a bureaucrat making a plan, without considering social usefulness and entirely cocking a snook at the desires of our betters in the Great and the Good.

We the peasantry have decided that we're not all that interested in more supermarkets. So, therefore, there won't be that many more supermarkets. Markets really do just sort themselves out, we get supplied with what we actually want for that's what we spend our money on, what we want.

Well, markets do sort themselves out if they're allowed to. Who's willing to bet on the campaigns against those now won't be supermarket sites being turned into the housing that people insist we need?