Empty stores will be made available as part of high street relaunch plans

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Landlords will have to make available to potential tenants businesses that have been vacant for more than a year as part of a plan to revitalize troubled city centers.

The unlocking of new powers for local authorities to bring empty premises back into use and launch rental auctions for vacant commercial properties in town centers and on high streets was included in the Queen’s Speech.

Other measures include the possibility of making sidewalk cafes that have sprung up during the Covid-19 pandemic a permanent part of the downtown landscape.

As part of the Leveling and Regeneration Bill’s measures to revive England’s high streets, councils will have the power to take control of buildings for the benefit of their communities.

During the pandemic, restaurants, pubs and bars have been granted temporary powers to serve customers on pavements (PA)

Mandatory rental auctions will allow landlords to make available to potential tenants businesses that have been vacant for more than a year.

Authorities will also be given increased powers to use compulsory purchase orders to deliver housing, regeneration programs and infrastructure.

Officials previously pointed to figures from the British Retail Consortium showing around one in seven stores were vacant, with up to a fifth empty in the North East.

Stores have been hit by high rental costs and business rates and a drop in demand as consumers move online, a trend exacerbated by the pandemic.

During the pandemic, restaurants, pubs and bars have been granted temporary powers to serve customers on the sidewalks.

It’s a big step forward in championing the success of independent retailers across the UK.

Jina Kwon, UK country manager at Ankorstore

Through new legislation, these powers will be made permanent to increase business capacity in hopes of boosting local economies.

Independent retail market Ankorstore said it was a “big advocate” for the legislation.

Jina Kwon, UK Country Manager at Ankorstore, said: “This is a big step forward in championing the success of independent retailers across the UK.

“The impact of forcing landlords to rent unleased properties on a high street is expected to lower the cost of entry for many local independent retailers, who are looking to restart their businesses after the ongoing effects of the pandemic continue to unfold. to make felt.

“By putting power in the hands of local leaders, communities will be able to experience more variety and competition in their area, encouraging growth and regeneration within boroughs, not just downtowns. “