Window shopping on a Saturday is one of a girl’s greatest pleasures, however in this economic climate it is becoming less of a pleasure and more of a depressing visual reminder of the current situation we are all in. The high street is now littered with empty shops reminding us of businesses closing and shattering our leisure time which should be used to escape the cold reality we face every day.
According to the British Retail Consortium (RBC) in July around 12% of town centre shops were standing empty and this will increase to 15% by the end of the year. Some town centres have been hit harder than others with a staggering 40% of shops now standing empty in some areas.
The unfortunate outcome from this is a further destroyed consumer confidence and even less money being spent on the high street leading us further into decline. A further problem lies behind the empty shops with businesses having to pay full business rates on empty space which prevents money which could be reinvested back into the business having to instead be spent on funding empty property.
Healthy Planet has found a way to provides relief to the high street hell with a new Instant Rates Saving Initiative. This is an initiative recently launched by Healthy Planet with help from Fasken Martineau LLP to help improve the look of empty shops and community spirit in the area as well as raise money for Healthy Planet’s conservation work and reward the landlords with some of the savings.
As Healthy Planet is an online charity when they become a tenant all they ask is to place their posters in a visible window to raise awareness of our website and improve the look of the face of the shop. In return the landlords receive a 50% decrease in the rates they pay as well as supporting conservation work.
This month Healthy Planet has been proud to reveal its first shop in the W12 shopping centre with which the new scheme is beginning to make waves. Support has already been received from many areas such as a feature on BBC2 Working Lunch with founder Shaylesh Patel to discuss the new innovative idea.
The initiative is also hoped to provide further benefits in the future by working in conjunction with Young Enterprise to allow school children to learn about business by using these shops and opening up for a day. This is another way of turning empty shops and a bad economic climate into positive outcomes.
So more news in the future of landlords helping to make their high street healthier and look out for our special edition property newsletter will be coming soon. If you’d like to find out more about the new Rates Saving Initiative and to see the interview with BBC 2 Working Lunch visit our landlords page at www.healthyplanet.org/uklandlords .
By Lisa Birch