HILLINGDON Council have confirmed they would consider opening empty shops as temporary art galleries, under new Government proposals to combat the recession.
Ministers announced the plans on Tuesday, for the installation of art galleries and crafts fairs, and even areas for musicians to practise, in efforts to avoid high streets becoming ghost towns, as shops feel the effects of the credit crunch.
While the council admitted the proposals were very much in their early stages, it would be an initiative they not rule out, if the circumstances were right.
The idea is to revive areas where shops which lie empty for a long period while they are tied up in litigation and planning constraints, such as the Woolworth's site in Uxbridge High Street, could be used to attract visitors to the town and keep it busy.
Fran Beasley, deputy chief executive, said: "Hillingdon is fortunate that there are not a high number of retail outlets that are unused for long periods of time in the borough.
"However if an opportunity presented itself to display artwork in an unused shop window the council would look at the options at that time."
Concerns had been raised nationally that empty shop fronts were attracting crime and deterring shoppers from visiting town centres, leading to a harmful knock on effect to surviving businesses.