I have written before about empty shops in cities and what I believe is the solution. Flexible rents for start-ups and some understanding in the payment of business rates. The latest move reported by the BBC that Tesco were to take over the former Tales Of Robin Hood site in Nottingham, proves it’s still not being addressed in any effective way.
As one of those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of the presentation from the Bass Museum team who did have plans for the site, this is a real shame, but no real surprise. That proposal was so flawed as to be embarrassing.
So why would Tesco move in and not look for longer to find a decent alternative tenant?
Let’s say that the rent on the site would be £100k per annum and as we know, Tesco own the head lease. After six months empty, they will have to pay a full business rate, which adds another £41.5k to their bill. So, for them to leave it empty, costs them £141.5k per year. Therefore, as long as they lose LESS than that as a Tesco Express store, then it’s worth them opening it.
In effect they are being incentivised by the system to open up all over the place.
Surely it would be better for the long term good of the city to have some retail diversity?
Or maybe a Robin Hood attraction, or even a permanent exhibition.
Let’s set the Sheriff of Nottingham on ‘em.
Thanks to the somewhat out of date Nottingham Tourist Guide for the image.