As part of new plans proposed under the levelling up and regeneration bill, landlords will be forced to rent out any premises they have that have been vacant for six months, with councils able to tender for bids for empty shops to help reduce the number of boarded-up sites on high streets around the country.
According to the Daily Mail, it’s hoped that the move, achieved through a compulsory rental auction, will regenerate town centres and breathe new life into the high street. Landlords will be given a grace period to fill the vacant shops, but once this comes to a close local authorities will be permitted to invite bids.
Since the pandemic, the number of empty retail units has soared, with many unable to resume business as normal after the various lockdowns and suffering further thanks to increased online shopping competition.
Speaking to the news source, a government source said: “The government’s mission to level up will breathe new life into these great towns and end the scourge of boarded-up shops sucking the soul out of once bustling high streets.”
Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, welcomed the move, saying that the provision of funding to repurpose vacant sites into hospitality, leisure or retail opportunities will support the recovery of town centres and encourage people to shop more locally.
The levelling up and regeneration bill also aims to create more cohesive, stronger communities by increasing homeownership, improving housing quality, reforming the planning system, building 300,000 new homes a year in England and supporting regeneration, green spaces and cultural activities.
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