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Shops: Empty Property

Volume 497: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's press release of 14 April 2009, on the empty shops revival plan, how many of the proposals referred to have been adopted by local authorities to date. (294788)

There has been widespread interest in the ‘Looking After Our Town Centres’ guide and there have been over 11,000 downloads of the document from our website since it was published in April this year. We are delivering the support we promised to help town centres, including the announcement in August this year of £3 million funding to help high streets that have been hardest hit by the recession.

It is for local authorities to decide how to promote their town centres. We have highlighted approaches that are already being taken, but councils are not required to provide monitoring information to CLG. We continue to discuss issues affecting town centres with stakeholders and have supported good practice events. We know that several councils are adopting approaches inspired by the guide like using empty shops to display art work or information on the local area; seasonal festivals to attract visitors; free car parking on Saturdays, pop-up shops to try out new retail ideas, and fresh marketing initiatives.