I read today that all around the country quite a few local authorities have been buying up lots of empty retail units in their towns in order to revitalise their High Streets.
A lot of towns have been suffering for all sorts of different reasons but what some councils have done is borrowed money at a very low rate of interest and invested it in their town centres by buying the empty freehold commercial properties at cheap prices due to the lack of demand. They then refurbished and upgraded them and in some cases sub-divided them enabling them to lease them at more affordable rents to small independent businesses, start up businesses and community groups.
Millions of pounds have been invested in this way with ten shopping precincts being bought in different towns last year alone. The results have been fascinating, where there were once run down empty shops attracting low level criminality there are now vibrant, bustling town centres drawing people in and bringing communities together and on top of that the council’s have an alternative source of revenue which is helping them to bridge the gap in funding from central government cuts meaning less pressure on cutting services and having to put up council tax.
At the same time an independent government report suggested that rather than have a one size fits all central government down solution to boost our town centres there should be local committee’s set up with interested parties to come up with solutions for their own town, on a town by town basis with some funding from central government. In our town the obvious thing would be for Central Beds Council to do what they were advised to do by the consultants G.V.A. and finish buying the remaining parcels of land on the South Side of the High Street and develop it so as to expand and enhance our historical market town centre as the housing and therefore population continues to grow. Central Beds Council would have an extra source of income whilst retaining the assets and the people of the town finally get what they’ve been waiting for all these years, everyone’s a winner!
For more info contact Gennaro on 01525 854273 or L.B. First Facebook page.