What is a Meanwhile Use and where do they happen?
Meanwhile Uses occupy vacant or underutilised premises, sites or spaces on a temporary basis. These may be on public or private space, in town centres or greenspaces, or even outer city brownfield sites.
Projects like these are an opportunity to reactivate spaces while a landlord secures a new lease, before the major redevelopment of a site or in a long term vacant space.
What are the benefits of Meanwhile Uses?
Meanwhile Uses have a number of benefits for the community, as well as landlords and occupiers. They help to:
- Reinvigorate high streets
- Contribute to the social and economic development of the community
- Deliver short term and long term neighbourhood improvements
- Provide security for landlords, reduce costs and enable new commercial uses to be tested
- Support local SMEs and start-ups by creating new flexible, affordable workspace and creative spaces
How long do Meanwhile Uses last?
Meanwhile Uses are by definition temporary. Duration depends on the project and varies from several months to several years. For landlords who may not want to commit to a 25+ year lease, Meanwhile Leases for 1-2+ years developed in partnership with the Council and Meanwhile Providers offer much more flexibility. Nevertheless, as projects are temporary they require careful management. This includes setting out a longer-term vision for the area and a move-on strategy for when the Meanwhile Use ends.
What does a Meanwhile Use Provider do?
Meanwhile Use Providers find and secure premises. They work in partnership with the Council and the landlord to agree leases, as well as set clear targets for the space to ensure the temporary use of the space is clearly defined and its presence benefits local residents and businesses. The Council is developing guidance for Meanwhile Use Providers and a list of preferred providers which will help promote meanwhile activities and projects, match operators with spaces, and establish quality standards.
How do Meanwhile Use leases work?
A: Leases are agreed between the Council, landlord and Meanwhile Use Provider.
There are three types of lease:
- Intermediary meanwhile use lease
- Meanwhile use lease
- Meanwhile use sublease.
The type of lease developed will vary case by case. View the government guidance for more information.
Are Meanwhile Uses liable for business rates?
Yes, Meanwhile Uses of non-domestic properties are liable for business rates. Some properties and organisation may be eligible for business rate reliefs. Meanwhile Use Providers can often help reduce landlords business rates liabilities when an empty property is occupied with a meanwhile use.
What support does the Council provide for Meanwhile Uses?
The Council, alongside Locality, co-founded national charity Meanwhile Foundation in 2012. Meanwhile Foundation works in partnership with the Council to promote the temporary use of vacant properties by carrying tenancies on them.