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INSIGHT: Landlords And Local Communities Look To Meanwhile Use Plans

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A working group formed by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg will meet this month to discuss plans that will bring empty buildings to life across the North.

Clegg recently announced that he would be forming the group with organisations such as Legal & General, The Co-operative Group and Network Rail among others to tackle the number of empty buildings across the region by making them available to charities, community groups, artists and entrepreneurs.

Local authorities, land owners and property developers have already begun working with community groups and business ventures to explore ‘meanwhile use’ opportunities that will strengthen the economy and support start-up growth, as well as “keep cities buzzing from the centre to the outskirts” Clegg claimed.

It follows the launch of the Northern Futures initiative in November last year, which aims to facilitate a more open debate about decentralisation and economic growth in this part of the country by bringing together universities, businesses, local authorities, young people and members of the public to generate new ideas.

Karen Piontek, associate lawyer in Pearson’s commercial property team, commented: “The plans announced by the deputy prime minister will be welcomed by local communities looking to take advantage of temporary occupation in their area for non-commercial use, but also, landlords will be keen to reduce vacant property costs.

“Direct and intermediary ‘meanwhile use’ leases provide an industry standard to speed up the legal process and keep costs down for all parties, ideal for charities, community groups and social enterprises that would otherwise be unable to afford normal commercial rents.

“While standard ‘meanwhile use’ leases are readily available from the Department for Communities and Local Government, both the landlord and tenant need to make sure that it is tailored for the letting in question and we would normally recommend they take legal advice if in any doubt.”

Glenn Drake-Owen, surveyor at Breakey Nuttall, added: “We welcome this news, which will help to support North West business and stimulate economic growth in the region.

“Facilitating collaboration between businesses and community can only help to attract further investment in town centres such as Oldham and Rochdale, where major regeneration is already taking place.”

For more information about meanwhile use leases or commercial property legal advice, please call Karen Piontek on 0161 684 6951 or email karen.piontek@pearsonlegal.co.uk

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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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