April 18, 2022 2.30 pm This story is over 19 months old

Landlords forced to let out retail units in government’s latest high street revival bid

Councils will have the power to call auctions if landlords do not comply

In a fresh attempt to revitalise high streets post-pandemic, the government could force landlords to rent out retail units that have been vacant for at least six months.

Under the new proposed government plans to help the high street bounce back after the financial impact of COVID-19, landlords will be forced to let out their retail units if they have been vacant for six months or longer.

Following a brief grace period for landlords to ensure the space is filled, councils will be able to start an auction at the site and invite bids from any interested parties.

John Greed with the shutters down at Lincoln’s Cornhill. | Photo: The Lincolnite

According to The Daily Mail, the announcement will be made during the Queen’s speech next month, introduced as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

It comes as a number of popular retailers, such as Debenhams and Topshop, closed across the country, affected by coronavirus lockdowns and low footfall.

Monsoon Accessorize was one of the COVID-19 casualties on the High Street in Lincoln. | Photo: The Lincolnite

In Lincoln, there are still a number of empty units on the High Street, formerly occupied by the likes of Jack Wills, Monsoon Accesorize, Patisserie Valerie and Intersport, with no real sign of them being replaced.

This move could breathe new life into Lincoln High Street and offer more choice for the public in the city centre.

Brighthouse just off Lincoln High Street would be one of the shops forced to be let out. | Photo: The Lincolnite