Art goes on display in empty shops across Banbury

Barry Whitehouse.
Barry Whitehouse.

Work by local artists and photographers is popping up in the windows of empty shop fronts in Banbury, as Cherwell District Council vows to continue to work to help small businesses flourish.

Paintings by artist and owner of The Artery shop on Parsons Street, Barry Whitehouse, are on display in the window of the former Moss Bros unit on Banbury High Street while work by photographer Mark Green of In Memory Photography can be seen in the window of the former Mrs Bear’s Pantry on Church Lane.

The initiative follows a display of work by artist Ella Hendy in the former Stead & Simpson unit on High Street.

Cherwell District Council lead member for Banbury Futures, Cllr Kieron Mallon, said: “One of our priorities is to work with landlords and agents to reduce the number of empty town centre shops.

“Our focus is on getting those units let to occupiers that add to the mix of businesses.

“This can take time, so it benefits the town to have window spaces looking good by using them as a showcase for local art.”

Cherwell District Council recently announced it was extending the work of Banbury’s town team into a second year having set it up last year to focus on increasing the number of people coming in to the town, working with landlords and agents to reduce the number of empty shops, identify gaps in the town’s retail and leisure offering. They also promote Banbury to new businesses and reduce the leakage of spending power by people shopping elsewhere.

In year one their part-time role used the Government’s High Street Innovation Fund; now, to build on the work done so far, Cherwell District Council has agreed its own funding for the project.