'Better than standing empty' - Gazette readers react to Labour Party vision to revive empty shops

More than 900 Shields Gazette readers have shown their support for council turn-overs of empty high street shops.

Sunday, 18th August 2019, 10:06 am
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 12:16 pm
What would you like to see happen with empty shops in South Shields?

In a Facebook poll, we asked you: “Should local councils be allowed to re-open empty high-street shops for community projects and start-up businesses?”.

More than 1,100 votes were cast – with a staggering 91% saying yes.

Speaking of a new Labour plan which would see local councils able to turn vacant high street shops over to start-ups, co-operative businesses and community projects, the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn said there is "nothing more depressing" than seeing town centres decline as shoppers turn to out-of-town warehouses for online deliveries.

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He wants local authorities to have the power to reopen abandoned shops which have been left vacant for 12 months or more and bring back them back into use.

Here’s how you reacted on the Shields Gazette Facebook page:

Jacqueline Boddy: “I was at Jarrow last week. Absolutely heaving with shoppers. All the shops central and a big free car park.”

Ali Omand: “Would love to see pop-up bars and restaurants in Shields.”

Gillian McConway Morales: “Make South Shields a town worth going to. Look at the coast we have. Now we have the new transport terminal. Add on a good shopping centre and it will make a huge difference.”

Vivienne Pascoe: “Yes because nobody else is doing anything about them going derelict … as long as some good comes out of it and serving the community!”

Lianne Douglas: “Better than standing empty!”

John Dolan: “Maybe reduce or stop parking charges would be a good start for the high street.”

Matthew Hunt: “Yes, as long as they don't cripple the businesses with unfair business rates.”

Maggie Ludford: “Somebody has to use them coz another mobile phone shop or card shop will move in.”

Robert Ardkore Simpson: “I'd rather they go to something like a course in shopkeeping for local training schemes etc or lower the rent till businesses are doing better.”

Paul Gray: “While I would want to see all the shops occupied in our High Sreets, I have seen the word ‘seized’ used, which does not lie easy with me and hints too much at an authoritarian society.”