Probe into how council could help Aylesbury Vale firms

Shops and empty units in Aylesbury's High Street
Shops and empty units in Aylesbury's High Street

Politicians are to investigate ways the district council could do more to help businesses in Aylesbury Vale.

Liberal Democrats called on the authority to look at changes to running costs, consider reducing business rents and discuss droppings rates with landlords as ways of stimulating the economy.

The council has decided to put the ideas before its economic scrutiny committee for further investigation.

Councillor Steven Lambert, leader of the Lib Dems at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said the idea was ‘to look at all the options possible’.

Mr Lambert said: “This is about seeking opportunities and seeing what we can do to support those local businesses and our local economy.”

The council’s cabinet did not support the move, believing it already does a lot to help firms arguing that it has little power over rental rates in the area.

A report supported by the cabinet said: “In practice there are relatively few of these costs the council can influence in any substantive way and none that the council can directly influence.

“The vast majority of all town centre retail and commercial property is in private ownership over which the council has no control.

“However, the town centre manager, when appropriate, will also seek to develop a dialogue with landlords to encourage reasonable rents or rent reductions.

“The council strongly recognises the value of vibrant town centres and consequently is devoting significant resources in improving conditions where it can.”

However, it was decided at a full council meeting last week that the scrutiny committee could allow wider debate on the matter.