One way to make the most of vacant property is to take on a unit for your local partnership; this could be as an office, meeting place, or information point. If the local authority or a partnership member own a suitable unit, providing it free of charge could be part of their contribution to the partnership. Such a presence could help raise the profile of your partnership and your work and allow enquiries to be dealt with face-to-face.
You could also consider running a non-profit making shop, staffed by local volunteers or let out to a specialist operator, where the money taken supports the unit and stock, with surplus available to run other events and services in your town centre. Greens of Lincolnshire in Market Rasen is a prominent success story, as well as the Hatfield Hub which “promotes everything Hatfield” and is more of a community asset, 'selling' the town centre, than traditional shop.