Page last updated at 09:18 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 10:18 UK

Empty shops offered to charities

Empty shops in Leicester are being offered to community or charity groups in a bid to boost the high street.

The city council is offering vacant properties on Netherhall Road to non-retail groups at a special rate.

Officials said the organisations would get prime locations and the area would in turn benefit from their work.

Applications were invited from all groups but interested parties were warned that no money was available for conservation work.

Housing manager Leo Daniels said the aim was to help the whole neighbourhood.

"While we have empty units and no one is looking to lease them for a business then local charities and community groups could get some use out of them and give something back to the community and do something really positive here.

He added: "No-one wants to see rows of empty shops in a community and we are looking to do something about that."

If successful, the idea could be rolled out to other parts of the city, Mr Daniels said.

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