Posted by: madkentdragon | February 11, 2012

Empty Shops in High Streets – A Solution

There have been plenty of handwringing and interviews concerning the state of the empty shops on the High Streets of our towns and what to do with them. So why not think outside the box, why not make High Streets residential – or at least part residential?

All these empty shops could be converted in to flats; the buildings are there all that is needed is to convert the inside in to acceptable, low cost rentals for the young couples of today who are either struggling with high rents or saving like mad for a deposit whilst living with parents – neither scenario is ideal.

But imagine being able to move into a low rent one bedroomed flat and starting your lives as any couple wants, independent of parents – at the same time you can start saving for the mortgage. Of course you would have to move on if you started a family, but the High Street is not the ideal place to raise a family any way.

If this was to happen, then some enterprising person or a chain such as Spar or even the Co-op would want to open a convenience store/newsagents among these new homes. Of course this may never happen because commercial rents are so high – but what is the alternative?

The out of town shopping parks – or whatever they call themselves have lured us away from the town centres, you have a large supermarket superstore, a D-I-Y superstore, electrical shops, furniture shops and so much more all in one place with free parking in most cases. Ideal for the busy shopper who doesn’t want to pay the earth for town parking and then walk past a few dowdy empty shops to get to the one shop you want and then have to cart their purchases back to the car park.

My local superstore even supplies free buses for people in local villages, ideal for the pensioner without a car – and the supermarket who finds the cafeteria in full use as they wait for the return bus. The driver helps them on and off the bus, no dragging shopping to the nearest bus stop for them.

High Streets are never going to be bustling, speciality shops have their own niches in smaller shopping courts on cheaper rents, so why not use the empty properties for housing then at least it would be tidy, bright and in use.



  1. Excellent idea x

  2. Another good set of ideas. I agree with you that this seems a good way forward. I only see two problems as far as the property owners are concerned: 1) they will get greedy with high rents and 2) because it will need a change of usage they may decide its too difficult and expensive.

    As for the various councils well if they care for the Local people and can see further than their blinkers it could work. They would benefit from extra council tax, the properties would be in use and so not fall into disrepair plus it would as you quite rightly say, give young people a chance to get a foot on the property ladder AND win votes.

    Lets hope one council will wake up and smell the possibilities.

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