Tuesday 14th May 2024

(2 months ago)

Written Statements
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Jacob Young Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (Jacob Young)
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Today, we publish the response to the high street rental auction consultation that was launched last year. We sought views on matters relating to the delivery of high street rental auctions and, today, I am pleased to announce the findings. This is a significant step in responding to landlords, tenants, industry bodies and local authorities, clarifying the design of this important new power.

Among a number of topics, the consultation response outlines how minimum energy efficiency standards will operate in relation to a high street rental auction, and responds to questions raised on the new permitted development right which will be introduced. This is a significant milestone prior to the publication of guidance and the launch of high street rental auctions.

The high street is the beating heart of every town and city. A thriving high street is the centre of a community, a place for socialising, shopping and doing business. They are a snapshot of a place, signalling how well the regional economy is faring. However, our high streets are facing tough times, and when retail and hospitality businesses are under stress the blight of vacant buildings tends to follow. Empty properties lead to a vicious spiral of decline, where fewer shops lead to less visitors, and our once vibrant town centres dwindle.

The Government are working hard to revive the nation’s high streets. We designed high street rental auctions to allow all councils to level up economic growth in their communities and improve pride in place. High street rental auctions, which will apply to England only, are part of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 which will allow local authorities to require landlords to let their empty high street shops through an auction, achieving a rental lease of between one and five years for a suitable high street use. This permissive power will be further articulated in secondary legislation, with the powers coming into force this summer.

I will be writing to local authorities and sector stakeholders reminding them of the introduction of this new power and the significant role it will play in tackling vacancy.

I will place a copy of the consultation response in the Libraries of both Houses.