Country: Leicester, UK
The City Council is the largest property owner in the city of Leicester and through the Property Shop it is possible to access available properties from its extensive portfolio to buy or rent, thus helping to prevent properties from lying empty and unused.
Picture courtesy of Leicester City Council
The Property Shop displays a range of properties to let that includes over 350 industrial units, shop premises both in the city centre and elsewhere, offices, managed workspaces and grazing land. In addition it offers a wide selection of land and property for sale including residential and industrial development land, refurbishment opportunities, residential property and surplus operational properties. In doing so, it gives the opportunity to buy / rent a property that could otherwise remain vacant and unused.
Categories in terms of what is on offer via the website include:
1. Properties for Lease E.g. Belgrave Hall Craft Unit - an opportunity to lease a craft workshop within the grounds of an historic museum. The Council stipulates that "it wishes to create a dynamic environment for craft artists to demonstrate their crafts in a unique location with compatible users".
Properties for residential use are also featured here.
2. Land & Properties for Sale E.g. Leicester's Haymarket Theatre - a purpose built theatre built in 1972 and a well known city landmark. Here the Council is offering for sale a longterm lease of the property (shorter leases also considered).
3. Work spaces The City Council owns and manages 5 small Business Centres, in order to support the council's objective to promote prosperity and new jobs.
E.g. Vulcan House - a Victorian building located close to the Leicester City centre that was completely refurbished by the local authorities. The Council lets units and offices in Vulcan House on a 3-year Lease with an easy-in/easy-out clause offering full occupation in a matter of weeks rather than the usual months and allowing the tenant to give 3 months notice of termination; this releases the occupant from their 3-year lease agreement.
Vulcan House Business Centre aims to provide space for local people to establish businesses and to provide local employment. Tenancy criteria:
- It is preferred that businesses be new or emerging;
- Preference will be given to local businessmen/women and businesses that will employ from the local community; and
- Businesses must be independent and commercially viable.
To support new/emerging businesses the Council gives a 30% discount on the first year's rent.
4. Assets of Community Value The Localism Act became law in November 2011 and provisions which relate to assets of community value came into force on 21st September 2012.
The aims of the new provisions set out in the Act are to provide an opportunity for local community groups and social enterprises to be informed when an important local amenity/building comes up for sale and to provide time for local people to organise themselves so that they can bid to purchase the property, thereby preventing the loss of a facility/service that is considered important to that community.
The Act also specifies that a property will be considered to have community value if, for instance, "the property’s actual current use, or a use in the recent past, furthers the social wellbeing or the social interests (cultural, recreational, or sporting interests) of the local community, and that use must not be an ancillary one".