Holly will be presenting our recent good practice research on dealing with empty shops, commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), at an LGA webinar on the 10th of February, 10.30-12pm. The webinar will be an opportunity for councillors and council officers to hear our findings, along with more detail from two best practice case studies in the guidance, presented by Katherine Kynaston, Director of Housing, Employment & Infrastructure, Housing and Communities at Telford & Wrekin Council, and Peter Chandler, Head of Economic Regeneration at Leicester City Council.
This research is in response to growing vacancy on high streets and town centres, worsened by the significant reduction in demand for products and services from high streets as a result of the pandemic and associated restrictions. The impact of this is that many high street businesses, from individual units to large department stores, are reducing their presence in town centres - leaving the area and remaining neighbouring businesses with potential negative long-term consequences.
Councils will be keen to avoid a downward spiral and may decide to intervene, especially in those areas where it is clear that properties will never return to their former retail use. Our research presents a framework of best practice case studies on interventions, including opportunities for the provision of public or community services in former retail property, as well as a series of available council powers and funding sources used to tackle vacancy.