The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is speeding up plans to bring empty buildings in the north back to life with support from some of the largest land-owners, businesses and local authorities in the region. Just 2 months after his Northern Futures initiative highlighted the need to tackle the chronic problem of unused sites sitting empty across the region, Nick Clegg and local charities have formed a working group with Legal & General, The Co-operative Group, Network Rail, Capital and Centric, Carillion and others.
Making empty buildings available to charities, community groups, artists and entrepreneurs will help give a boost to local projects, stimulate growth in local businesses and create jobs. The group is responding to calls to breathe new life into empty sites by arranging for local entrepreneurs, artists and community groups to use them on a temporary basis to test their ideas.
The working group, part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Northern Futures initiative, will meet in February to consider project proposals and agree how plans can be put in place. It has already begun match-making local authorities, property companies and land-owners with community groups and business ventures desperate for space in the north.
Working closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships, the working group will pull together plans for establishing a series of flagship projects in cities across the north before April 2015. Potential sites are being discussed in Manchester, Newcastle, Hull and Liverpool, with conversations also underway in Leeds and Sheffield.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said: "In just a few weeks we have seen major businesses come forward to embrace the idea of keeping our town centres alive with flourishing entrepreneurs and community projects. This is part of a huge revitalisation of northern cities. Through my Northern Futures initiative, we’re encouraging a stronger economy by giving start-ups a chance to grow, whilst keeping our cities buzzing from the centre to the outskirts."
"Leaving useful land in the north to languish is not only bad for business, it affects an area in so many ways. I’m pleased to be bringing landowners together to make incredible spaces available for artists, start-ups, and other entrepreneurs to restore the buildings’ purpose and appeal." Mr Clegg added.