A Small Studio has worked in South London for a decade and has always wanted a workspace that was closer to the community and not working in a silo within an office building. We struggled to find anywhere suitable. Finally, in 2019 we made the risky investment of buying an empty, run-down shop that had been vacant for years on a declining high street. We envisaged refurbishing this shop into a creative co-working space, with a community room for workshops and meetings and a working yard for outdoor events. Siting our business here would support local retail and services by bringing people into the area during working hours and regenerating a run-down strip of the high street where there is currently little sense of place. The proposal would have improved current facilities by refurbishing and upgrading an empty and abandoned shop and increasing the number of people working in the area who need affordable and flexible working space locally. However, this has been a complicated process: The Local Authority doesn’t understand the changing needs of retail and is fixated on the Local Plan which insists on a retail frontage along the high street. But times are changing! Retail is in crisis; flexible working is on the rise and consumers want experiences as well as shopping. At A Small Studio we are trying to address this challenge by using our empty shop as a pilot project.