Project lead: UK Government - Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government 
Pilot Scheme: Open Doors
Deadline: 14 December 2018 

The UK government is inviting landlords to take part in a pilot scheme to help regenerate the high street and support community groups. The scheme will take place in 5 areas, matching landlords struggling to find tenants for their empty properties with community groups looking for space. Temporary use of premises in this way is known as meanwhile use, and the pilots will be managed by independent charity, Meanwhile Foundation, chosen for their existing work and experience in operating a brokerage service matching vacant premises with community groups looking for spaces to work.

The scheme is open to all landlords, whether a local authority or other public body, a small business owner or a major property portfolio-holder. There will not be a cost to landlords to take part, as the pilot will fund remediation and set-up costs as well as business rates for the occupier. There are a significant number of financial and social benefits to taking part including the chance to make a real difference to the community you are investing in, and thereby significantly enhancing the reputation of the participating landlord; and providing security against squatting and unauthorised entry.

This pilot will support community groups who may need premises for several hours a day but are unable to take on a full lease, or who can often struggle to pay rents on town centre premises. It will also help regenerate struggling high streets by bringing empty properties back into use, increasing footfall and bringing life back into an area.

The prospectus invites landlords to submit a bid to become one of the pilot areas and covers:

  • details of the funding arrangements
  • eligibility for places and criteria
  • transparency and engagement
  • how to apply

Once landlords are identified they will issue a similar call to community groups to come forward with proposals to use these spaces. Meanwhile Foundation will then undertake a matching process to place a community group in the premises. There will be no cost for groups to take part.

Application Form: Download application form here 
Prospectus: Download prospectus here