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Government plans to fill empty commercial space…and we’ll be watching

Having recently joined Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, I am still in the process of introducing myself. “Sakshi Gupta, Commercial Property Solicitor” is my opening line at the networking events. I must confess, I am still slightly tired after successfully completing the London to Brighton Cycle Marathon on Sunday 15th June 2014. We won’t go into my final time!

I have had many interesting conversations at marketing events about the exciting projects taking place in or around Milton Keynes, as examples:

  • The development of 6,500 new homes in Stony Stratford
  • New Center Parcs
  • Further improvement to the trunk route of the A421 from Milton Keynes to J13 of the M1

However, alongside all the new developments, there are still many vacant shops and office spaces in Milton Keynes. Apparently, the government proposals and incentive schemes to tackle this problem are not too far from implementation. The government has committed over £80m to provide start up loans for young entrepreneurs to boost high street shops and office spaces for occupation by a new wave of “pop up shops”.

Most notable amongst the incentives is the proposed relaxation of the rules relating to material change of use for premises, thereby allowing landlords more flexibility and tenants more variety. The aim is to open up premises to new businesses and allow redundant buildings to be bought back into use. The government consultation will allow temporary uses of certain existing high street buildings. Removing these restrictions on a temporary basis for empty building would open up premises which would otherwise make no contribution to the local economy. Landlords will feel the benefit of offering short term leases to tenants that would otherwise require planning permission for a new planning use class.

I will be closely monitoring these changes as will all other property professionals.   For further information, please contact Sakshi Gupta on sgupta@geoffreyleaver.com or 01908 689328.