Low-cost office lets trial for new businesses in Waterlooville

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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PLANS to rent out empty government offices to new businesses have been welcomed by an MP.

The government announced the low-rent scheme for unused or under-used offices in January.

One of the offices to make the short list in the year long experiment is the Environment Agency office in The Meadows, Waterlooville.

It is part of the Defra estate. The government is now on the hunt to find providers to manage the site.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery, whose constituency it falls into, said: ‘This is a great idea to help private sector business get started and boost growth and create jobs all over the country.

‘I’m especially pleased that an under-used government building has been earmarked in Waterlooville for the scheme as this will help business locally get some help in these tough economic times and it will help the taxpayer get better value from this building.’

The number of under-used government buildings is estimated to be around 550 across the country.

Mr Hollingbery added: ‘Some have not been used at all for a decade, so clearly there is room for improvement.’

Organisations interested in providing the management service can find details of how to bid at contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk

Providers are expected to be appointed early in the autumn, and the first spaces should be available for start-ups later in the autumn.