“The Open Doors project presents an opportunity to transform empty shops, creating a vibrant community hub in our high streets.” Caroline Dinenage MP.

The Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has announced the launch of the Open Doors project. The project will link landlords with empty retail units and offer the space to community groups who provide vital services or as housing. The work is part of the £1.5 billion package offered in the Budget to support high streets, including the new Future High Streets Fund that focuses on re-development and transport and the business rate cut for small retailers.

Across England there are currently 27, 000 vacant premises and to tackle the socio-economic challenges that communities face the project focuses on regenerating these empty spaces to create community hubs. It is part of the Governments vision for tackling social problems, such as crime, unemployment and loneliness, that is linked to the declining high streets.

Commenting, Caroline stated:

“With technological advances and online shopping, the high street has taken a hit. These empty shops are a waste of space which can be utilised to regenerate and revitalise our shopping streets. The Open Doors project presents an amazing opportunity to create spaces that we can be proud of, that not only fills these vacant spaces, but uses them in a way that benefits the community and offers services to the most vulnerable.”