Occupy Croydon: How to set up a pop-up in the borough’s empty shops (Part 2)

By - Tuesday 8th December, 2015

Jonny Rose continues his call to arms for Croydon’s pop-ups

Recently, I explored the pop-up phenomenon and suggested that it would be a workable solution to filling the vacant shops that are dotted around Croydon.

There are loads of resources out there for anyone interested in starting a pop-up in Croydon.

The pop-up phenomenon has been going for over a decade now. In the UK, there is a well-established history of artists and entrepreneurs taking over empty shops and other spaces for temporary exhibitions or community projects, and in the current economic climate such activity is being actively supported both by local councils and artist networks.

This is great because it means that there are loads of resources out there for anyone interested in setting up a pop-up initiative in a vacant Croydon shop.

Useful resources for setting up a pop-up in Croydon

The Empty Shops Network’s howtopopup resource provides everything you need to know about setting up events in temporary spaces.

Popupspace is a new organisation that provides a database of empty properties available on temporary or short-let lease arrangements. Popupspace has also launched a Pop Up Insurance, a retail premises temporary insurance that can be as short as one month.

If you have already taken over a shop and want to list your event or project, you can join the Empty Shops Network.  The Empty Shops Network has also published an excellent guide to artists working with empty shops, freely downloadable on their website together with Pop Up for Dummies, written by Dan Thompson.

Meanwhile SPACE  has published a guide for Intermediaries, people who liaise between the landlords and the artists to allow temporary uses of empty premises, and also provide downloadable documents such as templates for a Lease and Health and Safety booklet. These are great reads – even if you aren’t an ‘intermediary’, as it gives great insight into how these spaces are brokered and expectations on both sides of the deal.

To find possible venues you can contact Croydon Council directly: understandably they tend to prefer a connection to the borough when considering collaborating with an artist or entrepreneur. You can also use tech startups such as We Are Pop Up who match landlords with empty shops with people looking to take over a space for a short time. Or, if you have found a venue in Croydon, get the owner’s contact details via a property search on the Land Registry website (be warned: each application for information costs £4).

Getting permission: the final hurdle

Of course, even if you identify a vacant store which would be ideal for your pop-up, you still have to convince the property owner to turn it over to you for your venture.

Many private property owners understand the regenerative potential of the visual arts and can be persuaded to provide a space at a low price, or free for a period. However, some do not: earlier this year, enterprising Norbury locals that wished to lease five empty shops on London Road were rebuffed by the Co-Operative Group which owns them.

In my final article in this ‘Occupy Croydon’ series, I will look at the various ways that entrepreneurs and artists in the borough can go about making the case to obstructive or unconvinced landlords.

The Croydon Citizen is all about empowering Croydonians to reclaim their town. It’s time for us to reclaim our empty shops.

Join Croydon Tech City for its final event of the year on Thursday 17th December at 7pm. Free, all welcome, to attend please register here.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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