The Corn Exchange in Crickhowell, a former pub at the entrance to the town’s historic High Street, is a remarkable example of a community taking their future into their own hands. In a bid to stop the building from being turned into a national-chain supermarket, the community initiated a buyout, and Corn Exchange Crickhowell Ltd (CECLtd) was established to enable the project.
Now, the Corn Exchange is being converted into one-bed flats above small shops, creating much-needed homes and preserving the character of Crickhowell’s unique, independent town center. This ambitious community-led project is not just a testament to the town’s fighting spirit, but also serves as a model for how communities can take ownership of their future and shape their destinies.
The Community Buyout that Saved Crickhowell’s Character
The Corn Exchange’s story began in 2015 when a national supermarket chain expressed interest in buying the pub to convert it into a store. Fearing the loss of independent shops and businesses and the damage that a supermarket would do to the town’s unique character, a group of concerned residents decided to take matters into their own hands. With support from the Brecon Beacons National Parks Sustainable Development Fund and Powys’s EU LEADER Development Program, the community launched a campaign to raise funds and purchase the pub. More than 230 local people and friends of Crickhowell invested in Corn Exchange Crickhowell Ltd to prevent the sale of the pub to the supermarket chain.
The project’s success is a testament to the town’s determination and the spirit of community that exists in Crickhowell. It shows that, with enough support and dedication, communities can take control of their future and ensure that their town retains its unique character and heritage.
Creating Affordable Housing and Supporting Local Businesses
The conversion of the Corn Exchange into one-bed flats above small shops is a significant achievement for the community. It not only provides much-needed affordable housing in the town, but it also supports local businesses, providing space for independent shops that will add to the town’s charm and character. The development will create new jobs in the area, and the small shops will offer residents and visitors a unique shopping experience, something that is increasingly rare in towns dominated by national chains. The Corn Exchange project shows that, with the right approach, it is possible to create sustainable, community-led development that benefits everyone.
The Future of Community-led Development in the UK
The Corn Exchange project is a beacon of hope for other communities that face the loss of their heritage and character due to the encroachment of national chains and supermarkets. It shows that, with the right support and determination, it is possible to take ownership of a town’s future and create sustainable development that benefits everyone.
As the UK faces the twin challenges of a housing crisis and the increasing dominance of national chains, community-led projects like the Corn Exchange are more important than ever. The project demonstrates that communities can come together to create something special, something that reflects the unique character of their town, and that, with the right support, anything is possible.
The Corn Exchange Crickhowell is a remarkable example of how communities can take control of their future and shape their destinies. By preserving the town’s unique character and heritage, creating affordable housing, and supporting local businesses, the project is a model for community-led development in the UK. With the right approach, it is possible to create sustainable development that benefits everyone, and the Corn Exchange project shows us that anything is possible when a community comes together.
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