'Rates are the main killer' - Echo readers react to Labour Party vision to revive empty shops

More than 1,000 Sunderland Echo readers have shown their support for council turn-overs of empty high street shops.

Sunday, 18th August 2019, 10:05 am
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 10:18 am
What sort of shops would you like to see open in Sunderland?

In a Facebook poll, we asked you: “Should local councils be allowed to re-open empty high-street shops for community projects and start-up businesses?”.

Almost 1,500 votes were cast – with a staggering 91% saying yes.

Speaking of a new Labour plan which would see local councils able to turn vacant high street shops over to start-ups, co-operative businesses and community projects, the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn said there is "nothing more depressing" than seeing town centres decline as shoppers turn to out-of-town warehouses for online deliveries.

He wants local authorities to have the power to reopen abandoned shops which have been left vacant for 12 months or more and bring back them back into use.

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Here is how you reacted on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:

Tony Isles: “The council needs to spend money trying to promote this city as a viable and exciting place for businesses to occupy these shops.”

Bob Langley: “Could be converted to pop-up shops so people try out their business at nominal rental to ensure they can afford a longer commercial lease.”

David Vass: “City centres need to be better connected to society and be vibrant. A vision missed in reality on many a council decision.”

Andy Wilkie: “As long as it is not an enterprise that impacts upon other local businesses … e.g. community cafe.”

Rachel Elizabeth Marshall: “I always thought that council shop rates should be based on a scale to do with shop profitability- cheaper rates for new businesses and once they start to make over a certain amount of profit, then they pay a little more.”

Kevin Eaton: “Rates are the main killer in shops closing. This idea will not work without rates being lowered.”

Pam Todd: “Shops close because people don't spend money in them.”

Joe Graham: “Cheaper rates or rents … it’s not rocket science.”

John Quinn: “Start-up business for sure.”

John Coates: “Would be nice but sadly times have moved on for the worse , you would have to close supermarkets and shopping precincts don’t thinks tthat’s going to happen. Community projects need backing, businesses need customers.”