The government has announced new plans to revitalise the UK’s high streets by making it easier for businesses to move into empty premises and open temporary ‘pop-up’ shops.
The proposals will scale back the red tape that causes shop owners costly delays in securing planning permission by giving anyone starting a pop-up business up to two years to apply for planning permission instead asking them to submit an application immediately.
Minsters believe the deregulation will help reinvigorate the high street by opening up more affordable places for entrepreneurs to launch start-up businesses, end the blight of boarded up shops and help landlords to meet property costs. More than 11% of town centre shops are currently empty across the UK.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles MP said: “Leaving empty shops to rot is a wasted economic opportunity that spoils the town centre – that is why we are proposing to scrap the damaging red tape that is keeping so many boarded up. This change can unleash our young entrepreneurs to open pop-up shops and turn the high streets into an exciting start-up launch pad.”
In addition, the government has published a new guide on how use of high street areas can help attract customers. ‘Re-imagining Urban Spaces to Help Revitalise our High Streets’ identifies ways to lure shoppers into a town by making it a more social experience, as recommended in the Portas Review. Ideas include removing street clutter for pedestrians, introducing more street stalls and pop-up shops as well as attractions such as pavement cafés, play areas, outdoor libraries and street entertainment.
Pickles added: “Reclaiming dreary unused street space can breathe new life into high streets – by decluttering streets for pedestrians, creating a lively atmosphere with pavement cafes, pop-up shop spots and entertainment so they are more family friendly fun place to go.”