Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to let community groups and small businesses rent out empty retail units

Written by Tillie Demetriou

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The government is reportedly planning to introduce new measures that would compel landlords to let out vacant properties that have been empty for more than six months.

The move is part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is expected to be announced in the Queen's Speech next month. The bill is aimed at boosting economic growth in areas of the country that have been left behind.

The number of empty shops has risen in recent years as businesses have struggled to survive the pandemic. According to latest figures from the British Retail Consortium, one in seven shops is currently empty.

Under the proposed scheme, if landlords can't let out their properties, then councils will be able to hold an auction, inviting bids from interested parties.

The government is hoping that the measure will help to breathe new life into town and city centres, which have been hit. The government is hoping that this will provide a much-needed boost to regeneration projects across the country.

Greater Manchester’s night time economy adviser Sacha Lord said: ‘Funding to repurpose empty outlets into retail, leisure or hospitality premises will not only aid town centre recovery but will encourage the public to shop local.

‘This regeneration strategy has already worked in countless areas of Greater Manchester and I’m pleased that the Government has recognised that much-needed action is now required to support our high streets.’

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of trade body UKHospitality, said: ‘We welcome these new proposals to rejuvenate empty properties, which can blight an area, stimulate innovation and accelerate economic growth and recovery.’


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