High street highs

As the cycle of renewal of our high streets starts to take shape, innovative new uses are rising like a phoenix from the ashes of yesterday’s retail. Much has been made of the prospect of beds and sheds products, clean industrial uses, and even vertical farms. Last week it transpired that a highly innovative format combining all of these uses has been operating on the high street of the sleepy market town of Kettering for some time. Taking over the prominent 1930s Regal Cinema building just a couple of hundred metres from the Council offices, new operators have repurposed the premises into a form of factory / urban farm / distribution facility. The only challenge for this high street renaissance was that the product of their endeavours was 2,000 cannabis plants hooked up to an industrial scale hydroponic rig. Whilst the authorities took a dim (and somewhat incredulous) view of this new use appearing right under their noses, it undeniably ticks a number of voguish boxes. Biophilic design, repurposing of a heritage structure exploiting original features, and one could only imagine what kind of fun the experiential and sensory brand consultants could have with this.