Saturday, 13 September 2008

North Road ward catch-up (2): Fancy living here?

Earlier this year the Council refused the owner of this and two of the other workshop units in Whessoe Road planning permission to return the units to residential use. The owner has now appealed against this decision. The Planning Inspector from Bristol will decide.

I would guess this planning application is connected to the new legislation that imposes full business rates on empty commercial properties. Some commercial landlords have even resorted to pulling their buildings down, rather than be faced with having to pay full rates on hard-to-let properties. Sunderland's Alexandra Business Park is just one of many places across the country where buildings are being demolished.
The Government's intention was to force commercial landlords to re-let empty property quickly. But in the current recession the potential tenants aren't there, so landlords are facing steep bills. Problem is, if so much property just gets pulled down, not only is this an eyesore, but where will the available property to let be when the credit crunch eventually lifts?

A number of these workshop units opposite B&Q have been empty for some time. Unable to attract commercial tenants, even for these high-visibility units, the owner wants to return them to residential use. I don't think I'd like living here on a busy road with no garden or yard, in a predominantly commercial area. Still, it would be handy for Morrisons and B&Q.

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