On the back of the news that 62,000 shops could close in the next five years, politicians are arguing over the effect the new legislation could have on the future of the British high street.
In a bid to bring new businesses to closed shops, the Coalition has made it easier to convert what buildings are used for. The hope is that new businesses will take advantage of the reduced red tape and find new spaces to sell their products.
The problem is that the move has the potential to leave new, independent businesses unable to find premises as more profitable industries take up spaces in busy areas. Councils across Britain fear the change will see boutique shops becoming pay day lending outlets and traditional pubs making way for offices without the need for planning permission.
While the project's aim is to revitalise high streets, Labour have warned that the measures "weaken the ability of local communities and councils to shape their high streets".
Chasing a short term cash boost
"Ministers are chasing a short-term boost" Mike Jones, a Tory councillor and chairman of the Local Government Association's Environment and Housing Board, said, "This could potentially drain the life from our high streets. It will make it easier for them to become ghettos for clusters of here-today, gone-tomorrow money lenders and betting shops."
However, with the CRR report this week claiming one in five shops will close before 2018, it's clear something needs to be done to bring life to British high streets.
While this legislation does run the risk of forcing Britain's high streets to take a step down in terms of heritage and independence, there's still an opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to open up their own businesses.
If you've seen that perfect space for your shop or office but have been put off by red tape, that worry may now be gone. Smarta really hope the move does bring in a wave of new businesses that can contribute to British high streets, but, for that to happen, entrepreneurs will need to look at the options opening up for them.
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