The government is said to be looking at forcing commercial landlords to rent out empty retail units across the UK.
In a bid to rejuvenate towns and cities across Greater Manchester and up and down the country after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) recently found that one in seven shopfronts across Britain is empty, the move – which is set to be formally unveiled in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech – will see buildings that have been left vacant for a year or more be made to enter into a “rental auction”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is looking to rid high streets of “derelict shopfronts” and restore neighbourhood pride.
The move would also give local Councils extra powers to force landlords to rent out empty shops for the benefit of communities, as part of the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill.
Other measures – which are due to be announced tomorrow, as the Prime Minister looks to reset his government following damaging local election results – will include the ability to make the pavement cafés and outdoor hospitality that popped during the COVID-19 pandemic a permanent fixture.
New legislation will expand capacity for businesses in the hope of boosting local economies.
Local authorities will also be given greater powers to use compulsory purchase orders to deliver housing, regeneration schemes, and infrastructure.
Speaking on the plans ahead of tomorrow’s announcement, Mr Johnson said: “High streets up and down the country have long been blighted by derelict shopfronts, because they’ve been neglected, stripping opportunity from local areas.
“We are putting that right by placing power back in the hands of local leaders and the community so our towns can be rejuvenated, levelling up opportunity and restoring neighbourhood pride.”
Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove added: “By empowering local communities to rent out shops which have been sat empty for a year or longer, we will end the scourge of boarded up shops that have blighted some of our great towns across the country for far too long.”
Featured Image – Jack Cohen (via Unsplash)