Pop-up proposals to boost high street, says Pickles

Pop-up proposals to boost high street, says Pickles
The government aims to cut red tape and reduce costs for start-ups (image ©iStockphoto.com/Willie B. Thomas)

By Gemma Taylor 11:05AM - Fri 20th July 2012

Costly delays that prevent new high street businesses from temporarily using vacant high street spaces are to be reduced under new government plans, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today.

Proposals to scale back red tape, which currently causes extensive delays to secure planning permission which costs an average of £1,200, have been put forward by the government in a move to rejuvenate the faltering high street.

Committing to give over £80 million in start-up loans for young entrepreneurs, the government believes that 30,000 new businesses could be created from the cash injection.

Filling the gaps in vacant retail spaces across Britain is a key concern for the government which commissioned retail guru Mary Portas to review the state of UK high street last year and it is hoped that this latest commitment will boost local economies.

Earlier this month, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) launched a free small business retail lease aimed at attracting new and independent retailers into vacant high street units by offering standalone short-term contracts with no rent review.

A new guide has also been published today detailing how best to attract customers to fledging retail areas, emphasising the importance of offering a social shopping experience for consumers favouring digital offerings and online shopping over traditional methods.

Pickles believes that pop-up shops offer the chance to breathe new life into high streets, adding: “Shopping habits are changing and the high street must respond.

“The trip to town needs to be worthwhile. In just the same way as the cinema offers a better movie going experience than TV the high street needs to come up with ways to give it an edge over internet deals and out of town shopping centres.

“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.”

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