Blight, Town Centres and Temporary Use

I have written before about development causing Blight in towns and how, to me, this is unacceptable having learnt from the experiences of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

This site previously was a large COOP store in a town centre in the South East of England



It has been purchased from the COOP by a Government agency and passed on to the Local Council who will relocate their Civic Centre here.

In the meantine, it seems to be acceptable to leave a large site, in the centre of a town (a town which is fighting for survival against a nearby out-of-town regional shopping centre), like this.

This site ought to have had a Temporary Use Strategy developed for it from the moment the Government Agency decided to buy it. It fact, even before this the Local Authority should have been pushing, and helping, the COOP to develop a Temporary (or Meanwhile) Use strategy for the empty buildings which were here before demolition. 

Why is this site not being used for some sort of Temporary Use until development actually begins? There are plenty of examples and ideas around for what can be done – and I have a whole list of them in my Town Centre Regeneration Template. As just one example, why isn’t this site being used this year to sow a mass of poppies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One breaking out?

Someone has made an effort to do something with the site by putting photographs of local market traders on the railings


But the budget must have run out after about £4

Come on – let us put proper effort into using empty sites and buildings, and not accept Blight (which, we must not forget means maligning the life and prospects of people and places) as part of the development process.


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