artist in Cambridgeshire

Students' art livening up empty shop

Ely Weekly News
26th July 2012

Art is brightening up an empty shop in Ely - much to the delight of passers-by.

Students at Ely College are displaying their artwork in the windows of an empty shop on the corner of Market Street, where it meets High Street Passage.

Local publican and businessman John Borland, who owns the shop, gave the school permission - and residents have praised the decision.

Betty Reeve, of The Chase, Ely, said: "The paintings and pictures brighten the shop up.

It's lovely to walk by and look at colourful rather than an empty, dull space. I think the same should be done in other empty shops until they're filled."

Mr Borland's shop has stood empty for some time and is one of many vacant units in the city centre.

Jeanette King, from Little Downham, believes schools, community groups and charities should be able to showcase their work in other empty shops.

She said: "There are still quite a few empty shops in Ely, such as the former Millets in Market Place.

"I think what Mr Borland has done is brilliant and others should take heed. It would brighten up these empty buildings if we had pop-up art galleries or information stands in them until a buyer came along."

Communities Secretart Eric Pickles has recently been calling on the Government to promote start-up businesses in termporarily using empty high-street shops until they are filled.

He said: "Leaving empty shops to rot is a wasted economic opportunity that spoils the town centre - that is why we are proposing to scrap the damaging red tape that is keeping so many boarded up.

"This change can unleash our young entrepreneurs to open pop-up shops and turn the high streets into an exciting start-up launch pad.

"Reclaiming dreary unused street space can breathe new life into high streets - by decluttering streets for pedestrians, creating a lively atmosphere with pavement cafes, pop-up shop spots and entertainment so they are more family friendly fun places to go."


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