Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has highlighted government proposals to scrap restrictions that put off start-up businesses from using vacant high street shops until a permanent tenant can be found. The proposals essentially remove some of the red tape that causes shop owners potentially costly delays while waiting for planning permission to utilise a unit for a different purpose. Landlords would be given permission to temporarily change the use of an empty shop for two years, which would presently cost around £1,200 on average and take a number of weeks to complete.
The minister is of the belief that getting vacant properties back in use will not only improve the high street, but also help start up businesses prosper, which in turn will improve the local economy and help landlords meet property costs.
The Government has committed over eighty million pounds to provide start-up loans for young entrepreneurs, which could create over 30,000 new businesses. The steps being highlighted today will make it easier for start-ups to find low-cost stores to set up in.
Eric Pickles said: “Shopping habits are changing and the high street must respond. The trip to town needs to be worthwhile. In just the same way as the cinema offers a better movie going experience than TV the high street needs to come up with ways to give it an edge over internet deals and out of town shopping centres. Leaving empty shops to rot is a wasted economic opportunity that spoils the town centre – that is why we are proposing to scrap the damaging red tape that is keeping so many boarded up. This change can unleash our young entrepreneurs to open pop-up shops and turn the high streets into an exciting start-up launch pad. Reclaiming dreary unused street space can breathe new life into high streets – by decluttering streets for pedestrians, creating a lively atmosphere with pavement cafes, pop-up shop spots and entertainment so they are more family friendly fun place to go.”
This is an exciting development and we here at popupspace will be watching with interest.