More than 10pc of local authority retail outlets are lying empty in Yorkshire

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More than one in 10 retail properties owned by local authorities in Yorkshire is lying empty, the Yorkshire Post has discovered.

Figures obtained by the paper under the Freedom of Information Act show that 154 retail outlets owned by councils to let to small businesses are currently unoccupied.

The amount of vacant retail outlets adds up to some 13 per cent of the total offered by Yorkshire’s councils.

Hull City Council had the largest amount of properties to let of any local authority in the region and as such the largest number lying vacant. Of its 348 properties, 86 were lying empty.

Leeds City Council currently has 11 commercial properties available to rent, all of which are lying empty.

Many other councils, however, enjoy 100 per cent occupancy rates for the properties they offer to let to businesses.

Local authorities in Craven and North East Lincolnshire have all of their properties currently being tenanted while Harrogate Borough Council has just one of its 14 properties lying empty.

Several local authorities refused to answer the Yorkshire’s Post’s questions on how much income was derived from these properties but the cumulative income generated by those that did respond was £3,674,025 for 2011.

There are also several other councils who offer no commercial properties for let in their areas. North Yorkshire County Council, Ryedale and Richmondshire’s local authorities have none to let.

Both Wakefield and Kirklees council refused to answer the Yorkshire Post’s request for information on the commercial properties they own.