Resilient high streets need space for surprises

Sarah Featherstone_c_Jim Stephenson

Leave a little room for the unplanned and experimental, writes Sarah Featherstone in this piece for our Stratford Design Challenge series

Memories of my old teenage hang-out came rushing back on a recent visit to my home town, Yeovil in Somerset. The informal cubby hole outside the record shop in Glovers Walk shopping precinct was once the perfect place for disorderly local youth, but the council has plans to demolish the precinct and rethink the town centre.

Demolish and start again doesn’t feel right and I was cheered to find an exhibition curated by the very bright and imaginative architectural duo You & Me, which uses stories of what people love about Yeovil as a starting point for future change.

It is displayed in one of the increasing number of empty shops you find in town, which I discovered is one of two units run by an old friend from our music-band days who has negotiated a temporary rent-free lease, with him running a new “pop-up” record shop and his wife Yeovil Art Space.

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