Business Not Affected
Thanks to Methers who spotted this above the old Threshers offy in Trafalgar Road. It made me snigger, then it made me want to weep. Things have got pretty bad when a street can’t support an off-licence, a bookies, an amusement arcade, a charity shop - or even a bloomin’ lap-dancing club.
I often hear from people who’d like to set up a shop in Traf-Road – with funky ideas and interesting suggestions. Some of them will work brilliantly, some are so mad they might just pull it off, some are just plain bonkers and won’t last five minutes, but these guys would be willing to give it a go, and see what happens. Trafalgar Road should be an ideal place to test out curious new projects - but these people tell me that, despite the embarrassment of choice for empty premises, rents are still so ridiculously high that normal people with fun ideas, without any kind of big backing, just daren’t take a punt on the business working.
Apparently, contrary to what I thought earlier, tax relief is only on the first three months of a property being empty (thanks, Anon, for pointing this out.) After that they have to pay full rates. Which puzzles me even more – I mean even given that apparently it costs the landlord money to set up a new rental and rents can be negotiated, why are they still not finding rates that would at least give people a chance to try, at the same time getting some rental for it? Even pop-up (whatever happened to ‘temporary’ ?) would do me.
Just imagine - a whole street full of interesting pop-up shops down Traf-Road – enough of them to create that critical mass the area so desperately needs to make the brave new stores such as Home Front, ToW and that new florist’s work as they should. There are enough artists, designers and fashionistas who’d love an affordable chance to show off and sell what they create in local studios and make Traf-Road the place to find cool stuff.
What do you think? I’m told that it would be laughable to think that landlords leave shops empty deliberately when they could get a rental return. I’m also told by various people who write to me that they have tried to rent a place and the fees have been too high. There are usually around 30 empty shops on Trafalgar Road. If landlords have to pay rates and maintain a property anyway, surely some rent is better than none? Would a sliding scale of rents work, where the rent is low when a business starts up and gets higher as it becomes established and profits rise? I just don’t know – all I see is a demand on one side and a supply on the other and somewhere along the line the two aren’t meeting.
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