Pandemic-hit car park group NCP seeks rent cuts

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NCP multi storied car park, Foundation Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, England. (Photo By: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
NCP multi storied car park, Foundation Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Photo: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Car park giant NCP has started a formal "last resort" process to pull out of contracts for unprofitable parking facilities and implement cut rents, as it reels from the impact of stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The company said it had seen revenues drop by 80% and the plan to restructure the business will be put to creditors at the end of May. 

NCP's Japanese owner, Park 24, said it backs the plan and will cut funding if it does not succeed. NCP said this would tip it over into insolvency.

If the plan fails 1,000 jobs hang in the balance and the future of its business looks uncertain. 

The plan uses controversial new restructuring laws which could force landlords to accept changes even if they don't agree to them. 

NCP said it has tried to negotiate deals on 500 sites it currently uses. 

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"NCP has been deeply impacted since last year due to the pandemic - sales during the full lockdowns have typically been about 80% below normal levels; outside lockdown they have not grown beyond about 50% for any length of time."

"This is not a short-term problem ‒ many high streets and train stations are unlikely to ever recover their pre-pandemic footfall," NCP said.

The pandemic has fundamentally altered the way we travel and shop — a fact that has wreaked havoc for high streets and in turn car parks.

Last week new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed there are now 5,000 fewer stores on the UK’s high streets since the start of the pandemic. One in seven shops now lie vacant. 

Even as restrictions lift, footfall on high streets is far below what it has been.

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