women preparing flowers in a commercial space

Meanwhile Use Spaces

Although the retail industry is showing signs of stabilising there are still a high number of empty stores on the high streets, many remaining vacant for long periods of time. 

This is where meanwhile use space can make a difference and be an aid for regeneration. Meanwhile use spaces are shorter term lets, (although they can range from a few months to years) at below market rates. They utilise empty buildings by providing a socially valuable space until the property can once again be used for commercial use. Not only does this ensure that there is still income for the landlord and area, they help keep an area attractive. 

Although a short term solution meanwhile use is a good way to trial a longer term business idea or a particular location. They are often seen as a forerunner of regeneration projects. 

The popularity of meanwhile use space has been aided by the governments relaxation of change of use class to allow a more flexible use of space. Class D (shops, financial, cafes, takeaways, etc) permits change of use for up to 3 years on a temporary basis. 

The most common example of a meanwhile-use space is a pop up shop. However there are many other ways for space to be used including: cafes, galleries, startup workplaces, community, events or sport facilities. 

Some examples of past successful meanwhile uses include:

Glasgow’s Stalled Spaces scheme provided funding and ideas for local people to turn unused land into such things as play areas, gardens and outdoor gyms. 

Boxpark is a food and retail park made out of refitted shipping containers.

A great example of a longer term meanwhile use scheme was The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and its interim uses for ten years after the 2012 London games.  

Don’t forget to visit NovaLoca to search 1’000s of retail units throughout the UK.

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