Shop owners in England could be forced to let out premises that have been vacant for over a year, under new plans from the government.
The plans are set to be unveiled as part of the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill, expected to be unveiled in the Queen’s speech on Tuesday (10 May).
It will see New Compulsory Rental Auctions implemented to ensure that landlords auction shops that have been vacant for over a year to prospective tenants, “putting buildings to good use”.
It comes as a recent survey from the BRC found that the number of empty shopfronts has soared to one in seven, rising to one in five in the north east, with boarded up and derelict shops “blighting highstreets and sapping the life from once bustling town centres”.
Prime minister, Boris Johnson, said: “High streets up and down the country have long been blighted by derelict shopfronts, because they’ve been neglected, stripping opportunity from local areas.
“We are putting that right by placing power back in the hands of local leaders and the community so our towns can be rejuvenated, levelling up opportunity and restoring neighbourhood pride.”