Published: 22nd Jul 2020

Empty high street shops should be converted into hundreds of thousands of new homes, according to a new report. The report by the Social Market Foundation argues that the decline of traditional high street shopping is inevitable and ministers should focus their efforts on finding new uses for town centres. Instead it calls for a major programme of converting retail units for residential use, which it claims could creation up to 800,000 new homes. The think tank says many of those homes should be built by local councils and other public bodies in a major expansion of social housing, the paper says. It also argues that central government should write off tens of billions of pounds of local councils’ debt to support that programme. The report also claims that the coronavirus crisis will accelerate pre-existing trends including a shift away from shopping in urban centres. As more and more workers … (To read the full article, subscribe below)