A retail park service charge budget arrived recently and there was a 3.3% reduction, being broadly in line with the market and probably accepted by many. However, on closer examination, there was a significant reduction in security costs that should have led to an 11% reduction. This reduction had been offset by an increase in management costs through the employment of an Estate Manager to manage various services, with that cost spread across numerous service lines.
This new charge being in addition to Management Fees and Facilities Management Charges. This is one example but is part of a much broader trend that is highlighted in the latest Assure Index for Retail Parks (2021 coming soon), showing widespread service costs reductions almost entirely offset by increasing management charges across the retail park sector.