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EU Charter for Meanwhile Use launched at SEEDS Conference 2015

TRP’s Professor John Henneberry was delighted to welcome key planning organisations from across Europe to the SEEDS Conference on April 15th to ratify and launch the SEEDS European Charter for Temporary Re-Use. This important document is set to embed ‘meanwhile use’ as a recognised strategy urban growth within spatial planning policy.

The Land Trust, The State of Bremen (DL) & international applied research institute Deltares (NL), were among the 22 organisations to sign the Charter at it’s launch; these organisations have also agreed to be a part of a European Spatial Planning Forum that will use this document and their own experiences to lobby for temporary use and re-use to become an accepted part of longer term planning.

The creation of the Charter was a core aim of the ERDF funded INTERREG IVB North Sea Region project, SEEDS [Stimulating Enterprising Environments for Development and Sustainability]. The 3-year transnational project has sought to identify and address the reasons behind the increasing number of forgotten spaces and disused buildings in our cities, towns and villages.

The link between abandoned land and empty buildings, and local economic decline is clear: disused spaces can lead to falling property and land values, provide opportunities for antisocial behaviour and an increase in security costs for landlords. The SEEDS Project has shown that through temporary use programmes, these empty sites can instead provide an opportunity for a win-win-win scenario, benefiting the community, landowners and the temporary users.

Planning policy at local, national and international level needs to recognise this and the SEEDS Charter will provide a vital tool for changing mindsets to reflect the new paradigms.

Richard Motley of Integreat Plus, a Sheffield based organisation that facilitates sustainable placemaking projects across Yorkshire, was one of the first to put his name to the Charter. He commented:
“Integreat recognises the importance of temporary use and re-use and feels that developers need to take lessons from SEEDS experiences which show how temporary use can actually benefit landowners and developers - often without the risks usually linked to real estate development.

“Decision makers need to give consideration to changes in legislation that will better support this notion as part of longer-term strategies. The Charter will help frontline organisations such as Integreat, champion the value of temporary use with both local authorities and land agents. “

A further 30 organisations registered support for the Charter at the close of the SEEDS Conference. The charter can be seen at http://seedsconference2015.com/downloads/.