Neglected commercial properties could be transformed by new initiative

To support this, a new plan to breathe life back into the UK high streets, by transforming empty or neglected properties, has been launched.

The policy paper Platform Places features proposals from contributors such as the British Property Federation and members of the Government’s High Street Taskforce.

Published by think tank Radix, the report suggests the creation of a High Street Buyout Fund to help communities buy empty high street properties and build up neglected town centres over a longer period.

How will the proposals be implemented?

There is also a proposal that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities should tell local authorities to adopt community lettings policies to enable council property teams to lease or sell assets on favourable terms, to support local social enterprise.

The report’s proposals include:

  • Targeted business rates relief set to a minimum of 50 per cent of their business rates bill, for regulated socially-trading organisations, and support for councils to use compulsory purchase orders to tackle buildings that are derelict or have been left vacant for a long time.
  • Growing the Heritage Development Trust to use historic assets to revitalise high streets
  • A consultation process around Community Right to Buy, to help community groups purchase long-term vacant or derelict property, with suitable protections for landowners

Industry figures have previously expressed concern over the Government’s proposal to force landlords to let retail premises that have been empty for longer than six months.

Commenting on the move, Ion Fletcher, policy director at the British Property Federation, said: “Thriving town centres are a carefully balanced ecosystem and it is vital the property owners, local authorities and communities are all engaged in a collaborative process to create a dynamic mix of uses that meet local need.”

For help and advice with commercial property matters, please get in touch with our team today.

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