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COVID-19 high street restrictions hit Crown Estate

Tom Shearsmith
07 December 2020

The Crown Estate, which manages the £13.4 billion commercial property held by the monarch, including London's Regent Street, has reported financial strains as retailers and restaurants were affected by lockdown restrictions.

The company was a creditor to high street chains including New Look, Pizza Hut and Pizza Express - all have sought company voluntary arrangements (CVA's) this year.

The group confirmed it was owed a total of £4.2 million from New Look.

In its most up-to-date annual outcomes, the Crown Estate has put aside £12.9 million in provisions for situations where money owed for 2020/21, with the prospect of some of its tenants falling into administration.

The group also owns regional retail parks in Oxford and Northamptonshire and joins other landlords in reporting sharp drops in income as footfall has been impacted by COVID-19.

The British Property Federation has accused businesses such as New Look of using the CVA process to "rip up" leases permanently, rather than using a CVA to provide temporary relief which is the intended purpose of the procedure.

The Crown Estate stated: “There’s no doubt this is a difficult time for the retail and food and beverage sectors, and we’re particularly conscious of the impact it’s having in many cases on people’s jobs and livelihoods. We are working with our customers to offer them support where we can through this challenging period.”

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