High street shops in England and Wales repurposed as climate emergency centres

Community groups are revitalising retail units in often moribund high streets to help people and planet

Dozens of familiar high street retail units across England and Wales, including Homebase, River Island and William Hill have been converted into climate emergency centres – community hubs “for the benefit of people and planet” – after changes in shopping habits or the Covid pandemic left them sitting empty.

As hundreds of councils declare a climate emergency, owners of vacant premises have the option to reduce their business rates payments by up to 100% through leasing the property for community benefit to a not-for-profit or charitable organisation, such as a climate emergency centre (CEC).

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