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News - 5 December 2008

Every silver lining has a cloud

Suspension of empty property tax will bring relief for landlords but it could be the last nail in the coffin for inner city streets that are suffering from high vacancy levels.

The Chancellor will suspend tax on empty properties for a year bringing some relief for landlords and commercial property funds.

However, the one ray of hope for derelict streets and areas of high vacancy was that landlords might have been forced to reduce rents rather than pay money to retain empty sites.

In some areas landlords have taken the drastic action of demolishing empty properties rather than face the prospect of paying rates on them.

This U-turn on the part of Alistair Darling could have the effect of delaying improvements in some parts of Brighton for example Preston Street. This street is suffering from high and growing vacancy rates and is crying out for re-branding and regeneration.

It has been traditionally a restaurant street and Landlords are continuing to target restaurant businesses but these businesses are no longer attracted to this area and as demolition is out of the question a change of use is called for.

For this to happen the rents would need to fall to make the sites more attractive to business sectors in need of city centre accommodation. An example of this is the need for offices and studios for business sectors such as new media and creative industries where there is a dire shortage of suitable city centre space.

Will Preston Street have to get a lot worse before we see any signs of improvement?

Traders are very concerned about the situation and a meeting is being held on 19 December to address the issues and look at options for change. For more information or if you want to come to the meeting please contact Soozie Campbell on 01273 380040 or via

Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Preston Street

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