Facelifts for shop fronts on the cards

Facelifts for city centre shops and businesses will soon be on the cards as part of a £400,000 boost from the Council.

A new scheme will get off the ground later this year which will help pay for businesses to carry out shop front improvements, such as new windows, doors and signs or cleaning building facades and cosmetic improvements.

A delegated decision giving the green light to the programme has been signed off today as part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to the shops and businesses in the city centre.

Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets and city centre champion said: “Our city centre is at the heart of Plymouth’s economy and we want to support businesses to work with us to present a better image, encourage more people here, to linger longer and spend more money.”

The Council is working with the City Centre Company to draw up design and other criteria to ensure high quality, well-planned shop front and building improvements are delivered. Between 50 and 75 per cent of the improvement costs could be funded by the grant programme, but the onus is on business owners to procure the work initially and oversee its delivery before they can claim the grant.

The business owners will be able to apply for the grant through a competitive process and the criteria and details are being worked up at the moment. Initially £200,000 will be available for a pilot and subject to its success, a further £200,000 made available.

Councillor Lowry added: “By helping businesses in this very direct way we are helping them and the city to flourish. Everyone wins – the businesses, the shoppers and the city.”

Chair of the City Centre Company, Doug Fletcher added: “Our members work extremely hard keeping customers coming through the door. They will have to sort out the work, but if they talk to the Council and get a very clear steer on the criteria, they will pay for a fair chunk of the work.”

This is part of the Council’s £1m Capital Programme in the proposed BID business plan 2015 to 2020. It has committed a further £600,000 to West End improvements.

More details about the scheme will be available in the coming weeks. To register your interest and to have initial discussions, contact David.Lea@plymouth.gov.uk

This decision has been made under delegated authority and is subject to call in by scrutiny.