Dealing with empty shops: Cheshire East Coucil

Cheshire East has had varied outcomes developing meanwhile uses. It has found that they works better if the council facilitates discussions with landlords to develop temporary uses.


Powers used

  • Asset management.
  • Civic leadership.

The solution

Cheshire East has had varied outcomes developing meanwhile uses. It has found that they works better if the council facilitates discussions with landlords to develop temporary uses. For example, the council, and the cultural forum have successfully worked with the owner of a local shopping centre to host Macclesfield ArtSpace, where empty properties in the local shopping centre were used as temporary gallery space.

Lessons learned from utilising the council’s own assets as a temporary gallery, art space and artist studios has shown it is useful to have an embedded corporate meanwhile strategy. This strategy helps to overcome any potential barriers associated with temporary uses that insurance, legal and asset teams may have. The strategy helps to flush out what kind of uses are permissable, how revenue costs associated with business rates and utilities will be covered and how to ensure uses can be terminated. Using such a policy can also help to manage internal expectations on what users require, compared to what is actually deemed acceptable by tenants.