Empty shop policy questioned

The government has confirmed its plan to allow local authorities to purchase vacant commercial properties in a bid to reinvigorate the high street.

As detailed in the government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, released as part of the Queen’s Speech, one of the main elements of the bill is to: “[Unlock] new powers for local authorities to bring empty premises back into use and instigate rental auctions of vacant commercial properties in town centres and on high streets.”

Paresh Raja

However there are question marks over the policy, as it assumes that it makes economic sense for shops to remain open on the high street.

Paresh Raja, chief executive of Market Financial Solutions, said: “Question marks hang over the purported decision to give local leaders more power to revitalise high streets, which was hinted at.

“It sounds promising, but the policy could miss the mark a little.

“Landlords seldom want their properties to sit empty – really the question whether there is viable demand from businesses to rent shops and offices, and at a price that ensures landlords can cover their costs.”

The bill will apply to England and Wales.

Comments 1

  1. Councils have so much spare money raised through excessive council taxes they are to become property developers? Has the world gone totally bonkers? Wake up and smell the coffee! The best people to help the high streets are businesses and investors. For Councils to relax parking regulations and provide free parking (as soon as they start charging the greed jumps in and a cash cow is born) and better infrastructure. None of this is complex – it is only complex to try and do it with no funding!!

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