Existing independent town centre businesses in North Devon are to be given a boost as a scheme that will award small grants for improving shop fronts or other potential enhancement projects has been launched.
The aim of the Town Centre Enhancement Scheme is to encourage businesses to upgrade, repair and refurbish shopfronts in North Devon’s town centres in order to emphasise the individuality of the business premises and, where appropriate, the historic character of the town centres.
This is a capital grants scheme based on the award to North Devon Council within the UK Shared Prosperity fund investment plan for 2022/2024 within the ‘improvements to town centres and high streets’ strand.
The council will contribute up to 50% of total eligible project costs, with businesses expected to match the council’s contribution. The maximum grant available is £2000 or 50% of eligible project costs, whichever is the lower amount. The grant is ideal for supporting small repair or improvement projects such as fascia repairs, signage, painting and decorating, guttering, lighting and more.
Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at North Devon Council, Councillor Malcolm Prowse says: "This is a really great opportunity to improve the overall appearance of our town centres. These grants will support to local businesses to enhance their own shop fronts by contributing to improvements and repairs. "We welcome grant applications from small or micro businesses and all charities and social enterprises. Retail, cafés, restaurants, pubs, financial/professional services, tourism and leisure businesses are all eligible for this grant, and other cases will be considered on their merits.
There is an open-application approach with no set deadlines throughout the year, meaning applications will be determined on their own eligibility and merit on a first-come, first-served basis. Buildings eligible for grant assistance from the council are commercial buildings that are situated within the sub-regional centre of Barnstaple or one of the following areas within North Devon: Braunton, Ilfracombe, Lynton & Lynmouth, Combe Martin and South Molton.
Businesses within a town centre or high street outside of these locations should get in touch with the council to register their interest as the council may be able to widen the scheme if funding allows.
The decision as to whether any works proposed are eligible for grant will be at the sole discretion of North Devon Council.
Interested businesses can apply on North Devon Council’s website.