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Strengthening retail and diversifying centres  | Enhancing activity | Birmingham City Council

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Strengthening retail and diversifying centres 

The Great British High Street award offers an opportunity to learn from the others how to ensure the high street remains a vibrant community hub.  Their good practice guide shares tips and real-life examples, as well as general principles, for how to make sure your local high street thrives

Temporary uses such as pop-up shops or leisure activities can also help bring life into centres and support new businesses with testing the local market. 

To support new ventures and pop-ups, permitted development rights allows a range of uses (such as offices, shops, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafes, hot food takeaways, assembly and leisure uses) to convert temporarily to another use (such as office, shop, financial and professional service, restaurant) for a single continuous period of up to three years.  This allows start-ups to test a new business model, and then to seek planning permission for the permanent change of use on that or another site.  

The same right allows for the temporary change of use to specified community uses (health centre, art gallery, museum, public library, public hall or exhibition hall) to provide a greater mix of uses on the high street and increase footfall, and bring community uses closer to communities.  It is important to check if planning permission is required before making improvements or changes to a property.

Apply for permission online 

The Meanwhile Foundation is a charity that supports greater participation in meanwhile/temporary use through sharing best practice and providing practical advice to people and organisations that own or want to see vacant property brought into use. Further information and case studies can be found on their website