Talks on how to revitalise Sheffield ‘s empty buildings are taking place after a working group of experts was formed.
The need to tackle a ‘chronic’ problem of unused sites sitting empty was highlighted in the Northern Futures initiative organised by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The Sheffield Hallam MP, working with charities, Network Rail and major firms, is looking at how empty buildings could be brought back into temporary use by artists, entrepreneurs and community groups.
His working group will meet in February to discuss how ‘ flagship projects’ could be established in cities such as Newcastle and Manchester.
It is said that ‘conversations’ about similar schemes in Sheffield and Leeds are underway.
Mr Clegg said: “In just a few weeks we have seen major businesses come forward to embrace the idea of keeping our town centres alive with flourishing entrepreneurs and community projects.
“Leaving useful land in the north to languish is not only bad for business, it affects an area in so many ways.
“I’m pleased to be bringing landowners together to make incredible spaces available for artists, start-ups, and other entrepreneurs to restore the buildings’ purpose and appeal.”
Figures also show that the northern part of the country has nearly twice as many hectares of vacant land and buildings than the south, with 10,130 hectares compared to just 5,580 hectares.