Hackney Council clamps down on illegal shops

A greater effort to address the illegal conversion of shops is being proposed by the Council’s Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission, one of several recommendations made by the Commission during its review of the borough’s high streets.

The review took evidence from a wide variety of stakeholders, including the business associations which represent Hackney’s six busiest high streets. The Commission held formal public meetings to hear from council officers and stakeholders as well an informal networking event for Traders & Residents Associations (TRAs). Members of the Commission also completed a site visit to Chatsworth Road market.

The Commission recognised the many improvements the Council had achieved in vital areas such as supporting business associations and the continued use of temporary leases to fill spaces between full-time uses. There has also been a decline in the rate of council-owned vacant shops, and the improved dialogue with market traders associations.

The recommendations for improvement included ongoing improvements in the way the council supports TRAs and business associations, improved information sharing between these groups, stronger action against illegal shop conversions, the implementation of a proposed street markets pilot for workless residents, and greater promotion of temporary leases to Registered Social Landlords and private landlords.

Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission Chair Cllr Clayeon McKenzie said: "Local high streets are the hub of our communities. It is crucial during these difficult financial times that the council provides suitable support to help local businesses flourish".

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