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  1. Published on: 07/11/2018 11:56 AMReported by: roving-eye
    The Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire will today (7 November 2018) set out his vision for tackling social problems linked to declining high streets – such as crime, unemployment and loneliness.



    Speaking at the Locality Convention in Bristol the Communities Secretary will launch the government’s flagship Open Doors project, linking landlords with vacant retail units with community groups offering vital services to young and old.

    Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP will say:

    We need to be imaginative in tackling the social and economic challenges our communities face.

    This includes seizing the enormous opportunity before us to transform our high streets into vibrant community hubs where people work, live and shop.

    That is why I’m delighted to be launching the new Open Doors project that will see empty shops being opened up to community groups offering services to the most vulnerable in our communities.

    Reflecting on the scale of the opportunity offered by converting empty retail units into homes and community hubs the Communities Secretary will point to new figures showing that there are currently over 27,000 premises lying vacant in England’s town centres.

    If just a fraction of these vacant premises were turned into homes, thousands more people could have a roof over their head.

    Research also shows that higher numbers of residents on our high streets can generate higher footfall and, in turn, higher demand for shops and services.

    The Communities Secretary will also launch a new Community Roadshow, which will see him and his ministerial team travelling across the country to learn from and celebrate the work being done by community groups.

    The first of the Roadshow visits will see the Communities Secretary visiting a winter shelter and a community-led housing project in Bristol.

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    Your Comments:


  3. local says:07/11/2018 12:51 PM
    The problem with these soundbite press releases is the implementation of these poorly thought out policies.
    Filling Lord Street up with community services is simply unrealistic and would drive down footfall, plus which of Lord Street shops is suitable for residential use ?

    Chapel Street is also struggling with many empty shops.

    They are closing for very simple reasons,

    many of Southports residents have low incomes
    the overheads are too high.
    17.4% of shopping is done on the internet (growing)
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindus...ries/j4mc/drsi
    Internet is sometimes cheaper because of their low overheads and taxation advantages.
    Its easier to shop out of town.
    Our town centre is unattractive with extensive charity shops and pavements lined with tat.
    Parking is off putting.


    Which of these problems does the minister address ?

  4. Alikado says:07/11/2018 02:27 PM
    Many shops have unused / under utilised stock rooms etc which could be converted. Also some shops such as ex BHS & Debenhams stores are spread over multiple floors, perhaps by shrinking to a single floor they could be viable once again. There could be some Posh Flats overlooking Lord St available.

  5. said says:08/11/2018 10:11 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alikado View Post
    Many shops have unused / under utilised stock rooms etc which could be converted. Also some shops such as ex BHS & Debenhams stores are spread over multiple floors, perhaps by shrinking to a single floor they could be viable once again. There could be some Posh Flats overlooking Lord St available.
    I agree with the first post. Numerous drop in centres and community groups are not going to bring people into town. New housing projects have already increased the local population and there has been no requirement for additional shopping venues. People will always go into stores when they are open - it is up to store managers to attract sales. A far better idea, for both the landlords of these properties and the local area - is to allow responsible local people to take over a premises for a limited period free of rent and taxes. If those people can make a go of the business they have chosen, they should be encouraged to continue and the overheads should be scaled according to the level business that they generate. Local people are far more aware of the local area and have more interest in generating business. Landlords surely would prefer that there is a chance of re-renting rather than gaining nothing at all, and councils should welcome the potential to attract people into town.


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