NEW shops in Acomb are to get a cash boost in a council bid to reinvigorate the area's high street - but payday lenders and bookmakers will be excluded from the offer.
The area has the highest rate of shops lying empty long-term - 17.6 percent - and under a scheme due to be considered by City of York Council's cabinet next Tuesday, a special business rate relief area could be created to offer retailers opening businesses in empty premises in the area money off their business rates.
The project was first made public at a full meeting of the council earlier this month, when a motion proposed by Labour councillor Stephen Burton asking for help to revive struggling high street was passed.
Now officials have put together proposals to make changes to the council's business rate discount policy, and add a fourth "ambition" to the document making regeneration of specific areas a priority.
Under the plans, Acomb would be the first "business development district" and traders will get up to 50 percent off their business rates if they open up in empty shops in the areas.
In a report by the council's head of financial procedures David Walker, he tells the cabinet members that under plans announced in the Government's autumn statement, newly reoccupied business premises qualify for rate relief once the units have been empty for 12 months.
But in a bid to bring new business to Acomb sooner, the plans for a business development district in the area would offer the rate relief as soon as the property fell empty.
With 21 shops currently empty in Acomb, funding the scheme for a year could cost £45,000 a year - with the council picking up half that bill.
The council has already set £50,000 aside to fund business rate relief applications this financial year, the report adds, but no applications have yet been made. The rate relief would run for a maximum of 18 months, the papers show, and financial services included payday lenders, betting shops and pawnbrokers would be excluded from the scheme as the council would deem them "inapprorpiate" and at odds with its wider objectives for the area.