In a similar picture to most towns and high streets across the country, Kingston town centre has some vacant units. A couple of months ago we embarked on a project to transform these units in the town centre. Although Kingston has fewer vacant units compared to the UK (9% vs 11.8%), we know they can create negative perceptions about a town amongst consumers, the local community and potential investors.
After numerous meetings, lots of research and phone calls with landlords, agents and business leaders, the Kingston First team are making good progress to better understand what is happening with vacant units. We currently have around 50 vacant units but around half are either under offer or part of a development, which is promising and we look forward to welcoming new businesses soon. We are working to match vacant units with potential tenants, supporting local agents but also exploring options for meanwhile use projects, such as ‘Not My Beautiful House‘ to support local community groups and start-ups. We want to encourage creativity and innovation while also supporting the local economy.
It’s not been easy to get hold of the right person and some landlords just don’t want to engage with us on this but we have agreement from several landlords to install artwork by Kingston University Students, in the windows of two vacant units which will improve the look and feel in the town (Imogen Ashby’s artwork is featured in the picture above). We’ll continue to work on this issue, as we know it’s a key issue for both our businesses and local residents and visitors, as evidenced in our recent research. If you want to find out more about this project or have a vacant unit that would be suitable for meanwhile use or a vinyl please get in touch with email@example.com