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News - 4 January 2010
You want it? Hove's got it!

Decorated shop fronts welcome seasonal shoppers

Shopping centres across the city are looking brighter than ever with the council continuing to decorate vacant premises with colourful images.

The latest to get the makeover treatment from the environment improvement team are the former Woolworths store in Blatchington Road and the former Festive Cuisine in Holland Road, Hove.

A landscape painting of the seafront from Hove to the Marina has been installed in 63 Holland Road. By local artist Martin Hall, it was loaned to the council for free. The building is due for redevelopment early next year, so Martin’s painting will be used on another empty shop elsewhere in the city.

The picture on Woolworths is a photograph of shoppers with the motto: ‘Whatever you are looking for….Hove is sure to have the shop for you.’

Picturesque Rottingdean also has just received an added attraction with the installation of two reproduction oil paintings on the former Lloyds Pharmacy shop at the junction with the A259.

“The Seaside” c1920 by Alice Maude Fanner of a local scene, and “The Ponte Vecchio, Florence” 1844 by Francesco Raffaello Santoro were reproduced from Brighton Museum & Art Gallery’s collections and chosen by residents.

Council leader Mary Mears said: “These images have really brightened up our shopping districts. Empty shops are a fact of life at the moment, but by using them to display artwork and interesting photographs, it makes the area more welcoming.

“The project to decorate empty shop fronts is encouraging residents to buy local, particularly important in the run-up to Christmas and for the January sales period. We also put some historic photographs on a former building society in Church Road in Hove, so central Hove and Rottingdean are looking particularly attractive at this time.”

Gavin Stewart, Hove Town Centre Manager, part of Brighton & Hove Business Forum, added: “Although vacancy rates in Hove are well below half the national average, we still need to work hard to support our commercial centres to help the city flourish as a whole. This project has been a resounding success with residents and businesses alike; by adorning those few vacant premises with art, the whole area is lifted, quite simply making Hove a better place for people to visit, live and do business in. Thanks to the hard work of the city council, we are moving ever closer to achieving those aims and the Business Forum is looking forward to continuing to support this important work.”

In April, the council put photographs of contemporary scenes on the former Damart shop in Queen’s Road and Astoria cinema in Gloucester Place, Brighton.

Before that the council used huge copies of paintings from Brighton & Hove's museums to brighten up rundown buildings. For more information on the council’s Buy Local campaign go to

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