Published on 19th April 2024

Cheltenham town centre

Action to boost Cheltenham’s high street continues. Working with landlords to reduce number of vacant units and clean up shopfronts with plans underway for enforcement action on unsightly empty units

Landlords owning vacant units in Cheltenham town centre are again being asked to work with the council to clean up their shopfronts and proactively market their premises for let. This is part of a continued bid to reduce any empty shops and improve the look and feel of the town centre.

Landlords have been asked to contact the council and talk about any challenges and barriers they may have in filling or repurposing their vacant units, as well as keeping them in a good condition. This work is part of the vacant units action plan, commissioned by the council and Cheltenham BID, aimed at maintaining Cheltenham as a vibrant destination of choice to live, play and work.

Tracey Birkinshaw, director of community and economic development comments: “We have written to building owners to encourage them to work positively with us to make their units look more presentable and reduce the number of vacancies in our town centre.

“Whilst we acknowledge there can be valid reasons for empty units in some cases, it is essential for our high street that these units are properly managed and kept in a good condition.

“Cheltenham performs much better than many other towns, footfall is strong, and the number of vacant units is lower than the national average, but we cannot assume the development industry will make the interventions needed.

“As a council we will continue to play a strong leadership role in tackling some of the issues associated with the vacant units we do have - and take enforcement action where needed.”

A number of units are being reviewed and the council will use relevant enforcement powers where necessary to ensure that the look and feel of the high street - and its continued success as an attractive place for local residents, visitors and businesses.

For media enquiries to Cheltenham Borough Council, contact: email [email protected] telephone 01242 264231.


Contacting landlords and building owners forms part of the delivery of the town’s vacant units action plan which was launched in September 2023. The action plan aims to:

  • Understand the current and ongoing position of empty shops in the town centre.
  • Encourage the conversion of empty and underused space to maximise brownfield residential development.
  • Take enforcement against unsightly empty premises to clear up our town centre.
  • Work with landlords, agents, and town centre businesses to ensure that stakeholders understand key issues facing town centre development.
  • Encourage flexibility of the planning system and future strategic planning to bring more residential accommodation to the town centre.
  • Identify opportunities for meanwhile use where appropriate.
  • Highlight opportunities for regeneration and recognise the value of key development sites within the town acting as a catalyst for lasting change.