A £1.9 million project has begun to revive vacant shop units across Oxfordshire.
Oxford City Council and a social enterprise called Makespace Oxford have launched Meanwhile in Oxfordshire, a drive to fill empty space with independent operators, cultural organisations, creative studios and co-working areas.
The scheme is intended to fill more than 100 units, employing more than 300 people.
The city council developed the project on behalf of all of the county’s districts with the funding secured from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.
Makespace Oxford has formed a consortium to operate it, including Wild Property, Transition by Design, Soha Housing, Fusion Arts, Aspire Oxfordshire and Independent Oxford, alongside Meanwhile Space CIC which operates nationally.
A partnership of all the county’s district councils and OxLEP will seek to match properties with tenants, letting all the units during 2021, and there will be business support available to help sustain them.
Cllr Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council, said:“This project will make it easier for entrepreneurs to open businesses, create hundreds of jobs, and give residents more reasons to visit their local town and city centres.
“It is an extremely exciting project that will transform high streets across Oxfordshire for years to come, and I am delighted that we have been able to work with such a wide array of fantastic local organisations to help make it happen.”
The team is keen to talk to landlords of vacant high street units in the county.
Image: Steve Daniels / Cornmarket Street in Oxford
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