How we reinvigorate the High Street

How do we reinvigorate the High Street? As we emerge from yet another financial crisis; attention once again focuses on the High Street, and yet more casualties. A number of ‘Think Tanks’ have produced reports and papers on how to regenerate these areas using arts and cultural organisations to kick start the process.

Some of these are positive and others quite negative, but whatever their point of view, they have to be lauded for highlighting the issue. Reports are fine and can be commissioned quite easily, however, we are yet to see any of these organisations put their recommendations into action.

Hammond Associates (H&A) devised a business model in 2009, which has remained fundamentally unchanged to this day. The main reason being, the simple business principle that for a scheme, or transaction to work, there have to be benefits to all parties, and the more even those benefits, the more chance of success.

Since inception, we have used more than 10,000 empty commercial premises, and we cover the whole of the UK with several hundred in use at any one time, so it is reasonably successful. H&A developed a strong network of Property Owners and Consultants who see the benefits, we also have a network of Arts and Community Charities with nationwide membership, these are the ‘enablers’; the individuals who make it happen.

Photo Credit: Cornerstone Arts Facebook Page @cornerstoneartsdarlington

Advantages for Landlords are that their costs are reduced for maintaining void property and it is kept in good condition making it more lettable.

Advantages for Artists and, art groups, small community charities, and CIC’s, there is no risk to them, they have the use of very low-cost premises in good condition on their doorstep; yes, it may be managed by an organisation many miles away, but aren’t they all? H&A along with our Principle Charity Partners provide advice, education, and training to enable these groups to prosper and expand the range of services they provide, giving benefit to the area, more benefits are put in than taken away.

The advantage to Local Authorities is that the slack is taken up from services they used to provide, and it costs them nothing, any charitable rate reliefs are covered by Central Government, and more premises are brought into use getting people back where they are needed.

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