In last week’s Budget, the Chancellor extended the business rates holiday until June and also promised to reduce the fee by two-thirds for the remainder of the tax year.

And now Karen Eve, Centre Director at the Bridges, Sunderland, hopes this will incentivise local and independent businesses to move into the centre.

“The announcement by the Chancellor was designed to benefit hard-hit retailers,” she said.

“But it also means that temporary deals to fill vacant space now look significantly more attractive and hopefully will give traders the push to seriously consider having a presence in a large shopping centre.”

Karen believes that pre-budget, “potential occupiers who have waited in the wings, wondering if a more permanent solution to the highly debated business rates system will be announced, have started to come forward to discuss temporary deals.” 

“In the absence of a long-term plan from the Government at the moment, there’s a great opportunity to take advantage of these temporary savings which I firmly believe will stimulate the market,” she said.

The centre director believes the huge investment taking place in Sunderland and the ambitious plans for the city could help attract new retailers who can have a presence with less financial commitment than they would normally need.

“Sunderland is showcasing itself as a place of opportunity on so many levels,” said Karen.

“And we would be very keen to hear from anyone who can see the value of moving their business into the Bridges while there are even more benefits to do so.”

Anyone wanting to discuss taking a unit in the centre should contact Karen Eve at

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