Kent Green Party is urging owners of commercial premises such as shops to lower their rents to try to attract tenants. With all town centres in Kent and Medway showing vacancies, one way a double-dip recession may be avoided is to create new opportunities using empty shops. Hazel Dawe explains:
“Empty shopfronts are apparent in every town centre in Kent. A major barrier to the use of these properties is the level of commercial rent expected by owners. Would it not be better to have some income and keep properties in better repair through use rather than have an empty shop and no income?
“The combined initiative of Kent’s local councils, the No Use Empty campaign (1) has made some steps towards putting properties into use. But the process could be speeded up if commercial landlords were willing to reduce rents, if necessary for short leases, to get property into use.
“There is considerable scope for regeneration of urban centres based on refurbishment, rather than new build if the roughly 22,000 empty homes across Kent and Medway are put back into use too. Town centre shops need customers. Town centre residents make good customers.
If these efforts are made in combination with raising energy efficiency and the use of solar technology for energy supply, then businesses could also have lower energy costs in the future. Green Party research indicates that a Green New Deal package could create 1 million sustainable jobs. Making full use of existing buildings is a key part of this.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair of Kent Green Party, on 01732 355185 or 079444 71083. Contact address as above. Published and promoted by H. Dawe for Kent Green Party – all at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF.