THE district council has set aside £80,000 for businesses in Bourne to revamp their shopfronts as part of a scheme to reinvigorate the town.
South Kesteven District Council is hoping to inject a new lease of life into the town centre and has already been given permission for a £2.2m scheme to transform the former Wherry’s Mill into shops and apartments.
Businesses in the town centre can apply for grants to improve their premises.
The district council’s portfolio holder for econonomic development Frances Cartwright (Con) said the scheme was designed to help existing businesses enhance their frontages to make them attractive to shoppers and visitors alike.
She said: “We want to give traders a helping hand during this tough economic time and this scheme is as much about simple changes as big ones.”
Business owners can apply for up to 75 per cent of their costs, up to a value of £20,000. The town centre has been divided into a priority area and a secondary area, with shops in the priority area more likely to be approved for a grant.
The money can be used for repairing or replacing shopfronts, repairing windows and doors, pointing, replacing signs and canopies or repainting the outside of the building.
Business owners in the areas will be contacted before April and invited to make an application. Applications will have to be returned by Friday, June 22, and a panel will assess the bids and make a decision before July. The work will have to be completed by the end of the year.
Businesses in North Street, as far south as Lloyds TSB, and as far north as Aroma Spice on one side and the Conservative headquarters on the other side are in the priority area, as are those in West Street on the same side as the post office, between the traffic lights and The End hairdressers.
Businesses on the other side of West Street as far as Markey’s Wee Barber Shop, South Street as far as the Golden Dragon chinese restaurant and the Red Lion pub, and Abbey Road as far as Rollaway and Zorba Kebab are in the secondary area.
Gordon Cochran is chairman of the Bourne Community Action Group, which is made up of retailers in the town centre.
Mr Cochran said he had already received an application form for his shop Gordon’s Photographic in North Street, Bourne.
He said: “Anything that makes the town centre look better has got to be a good idea because it encourages people into the town centre if it looks nicer.
“I am hoping businesses will take advantage of the money available.”
The district council ran the shopfront grant scheme in Grantham last year and 10 shops were given a grant.
It is also hoping to roll out the scheme to the rest of the district, including Stamford.
Any business owners who want to find out more should call Lia Ibbotson on 01476 406308.