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Meanwhile use charter launched

Words: Laura Edgar
Vacant commercial properties / Shutterstock_175046003

Planning organisations from across Europe have attended the launch of a charter that aims to make meanwhile use a recognised strategy for urban growth within spatial planning policy.

Twenty-two organisations signed the charter (pdf) at its launch in Sheffield, including The Land Trust (UK), The State of Bremen (DE) and international applied research institute Deltares (NL).

Created by SEEDS (Stimulating Enterprising Environments for Development and Sustainability), a North Sea Region Programme project, the charter was one of the project’s core aims.

The three-year project – 2012 to 2015 – sought to identify and then address the reasons behind empty building and forgotten spaces in villages, towns and cities.

Sara Parratt-Halbert, project manager, said: “There are clear links between abandoned land and buildings and a struggling local economy, a skills deficit among younger people and perceived low value of an area. SEEDS wanted to demonstrate an urgent need for revised policies and robust EU steer to help blighted communities avoid socio-economic decline.

“Through demonstration sites across Europe, SEEDS has shown how land use patterns are changing, and that local and national policies are failing to keep up. Our experience shows that innovative, short-term land-use strategies within long-term planning is the way forward.”

In a statement to The Planner, Euan Hall, chief executive for the Land Trust, said: “We recognise the value of ensuring landowners have meanwhile use of land to avoid sites becoming derelict and in the process, a blight on local communities and hotspots for antisocial behaviour. With this in mind, we are proud to have put our name to the signatories of this EU SEEDS Charter.”