Meanwhile Use


Meanwhile Use turns empty spaces and places into opportunities for communities and Artists. It is the temporary use of buildings or land for a socially beneficial purpose until they can be brought back into commercial use. Meanwhile Use enables low cost and low risk opportunities for arts organisations, artists or community groups to have a high profile space and engage with the local community. It can bring vacant land and properties back into use and help contribute to a better physical and social environment.

Discretionary Business Rates Relief

This is the most important mechanism BCC currently has for supporting Meanwhile Use in Bristol. Discretionary Business Rates Relief can be awarded by Bristol City Council to not-for-profit organisations who support our corporate priorities. These might be organisations who have both long term leases/ownership of buildings or those in temporary occupancy. BCC set the amount of DBRR given to a business rates bill and the amount is split 50/50 between central government and BCC.

The impact of Discretionary Business Rates Relief in Bristol


Bristol has a strong tradition of Meanwhile Use. Bristol City Council Arts Team were responsible for a scheme called Capacity (2008-2012) which harnessed one of the by-products of the recession, disused urban space and facilitated it’s reuse by Bristol’s numerous artists and creatives. The Capacity project had a significant impact on the cultural ecology of Bristol. This project ended due to the large staffing cuts of the Arts and Events team in 2012.

Legacy of Capacity project

A legacy of Capacity is the Temporary Creative Space project which involves Bristol City Council opening up two ex-functional council buildings to artists for short term creative use, The Control Room on Redcliff Bridge and the Edwardian Cloakrooms.

Next Steps

The Arts Development Team are working torwards securing temporary arts spaces in Bristol. If you know of a disused property, why not try and contact the landlord to discuss the possibility of meanwhile use?


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