Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has announced today that empty and boarded up shops should be transformed by making temporary use of them for social enterprises, art displays and learning centres, as a means to prevent ghost towns during the economic downturn.
But is this about more than just the turbulent economy? Town and villages centres are often the hub of local communities, the places where people get together; to shop, to spend leisure time and find out what is happening in their local area. Arguably, these hubs of activity are where local democracy happens. This is why we think that it is really important that all local people are central to transforming town centres into places that communities want to be.
The LGiU wants to do some more thinking on this. What ‘ingredients’ (infrastructure/services/facilities) of a town/village make it a place where local democracy flourishes and local people are involved in civic life? If you have any ideas or are looking at this issue yourself, do let us know by leaving a comment.