A retail park in south Reading could be demolished and replaced with logistics warehouses as the owners look to adapt to the “dramatic shift to online shopping”.

Brunel Retail Park, on Rose Kiln Lane, which has stores including B&M, Halfords, Pets at Home, Next and Go Outdoors, could be transformed into two logistics warehouses.

Quod, a planning consultancy, has submitted the flexible application on behalf of owner Mayfair Capital Investment Management Limited.

READ MORE: Pub joins list of protected community assets

The planning consultancy said the retail park has suffered from long-term vacancies and has several tenants which have been or are currently in administration.

It said ongoing changes to the retail industry have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the “dramatic shift to online shopping” favoured transforming “all or part” of the site into industrial warehouse use for logistics and stock.

The plans would see the east side of the site demolished and turned into a warehouse first, with a decision to be made later whether to do the same on the west side.

A spokesman for Mayfair Capital said: “We are currently assessing a number of potential options at Brunel Retail Park that involve repurposing part or the whole site into logistics use.

"We have been communicating with tenants on the scheme for some time and, although a number of retailers have been trading well, we have been looking to reconfigure the park to best serve the changing needs of the community.

"No decisions have been made at this point in time and we continue to assess our options.”

The current site is made up of 13 retail units with three vacant units plus the following stores:

  • Halfords
  • Pets at Home
  • Next
  • Go Outdoors
  • Dreams
  • Shoe Zone
  • Vacant
  • Laura Ashley
  • Subway
  • Costa

Units 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, which include Shoe Zone, Sub Way, B&M and Costa, would be demolished in phase one of the plan.

Units 5 and 6a would be reconfigured to accommodate Shoe Zone, Subway, Costa and current tenant Dreams. Units 3a and 3b, home to a vacant unit and Next, would accommodate B&M.

Laura Ashley, which is in unit 9, is in administration and there are no plans for it to be involved in the reconfiguration.

Mayfair Capital Investment Management Limited would later decide whether to demolish the rest of the retail park and build another logistics warehouse after “commercial discussions with existing tenants across the retail park”.

READ MORE: More than 2,000 homes now sitting empty in Reading amid national surge

Planning consultants Quod, which has submitted the application on behalf of Mayfair Capital Investment, said: “The retail park has suffered from several long-term vacancies. It also occupied by several retailers who have been or still are in administration.

“The UK retail sector is undergoing structural changes that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those changes are affecting all parts of the sector with many high-profile failures over the last two years that have led to surplus stock.

“As the retail sector continues to adapt to wider structural forces, the logistics market has been remarkably strong over the nine months in particular, as many of the changes we have seen since the initial national lockdown – particularly the dramatic shift to online shopping – have favoured the industrial sector.

“The growth of e-commerce has seen a spike in demand during COVID19 from 19 per cent of retail spending to over 30 per cent.

“Retailers have also been rapidly expanding their online platforms to adjust to this shift in activity.”

The consultancy said another impact of the virus was the realisation of the need for more contingency stock, and it said this is “expected to be further pronounced by Brexit as occupiers look to meet customer expectations for just-in-time deliveries, mitigating inevitable port delays”.