City centre shops and businesses will be able to apply for facelifts under an innovative scheme to help businesses keep customers coming through the doors.
The Council is announcing a £400,000 fund to help business owners carry out shop front improvements, such as new windows, doors and signs or cleaning building facades and cosmetic improvements.
Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets announced the programme as part of a major investment in Plymouth’s city centre at Full Council today.
It signals the Council’s ongoing commitment to businesses in the city centre as well as wider support for the business community which is working so hard to help the city expand and grow more prosperous.
Councillor Lowry said: “This is supporting businesses where they need it – to help them and Plymouth present a better image to encourage more people into the city centre, to linger longer and spend more money.
“Our city centre is unique and we need to recognise this and big up its architecture and what the city offers rather than knock it.”
The Council has set aside funding for the scheme which will be delivered over three years – however, the programme depends on a ‘yes vote’ from traders to the new 2015 to 2020 Business Improvement District.
The Council, in consultation with the City Centre Company, will draw up design and other criteria to ensure high quality, well-planned shop front and building improvements are delivered.
Under the scheme up to 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 their grant allocation.
The business owners will be able to apply for the grant through a competitive process, the criteria and details of are being developed.
Councillor Lowry added: “This scheme has got real potential to inspire businesses as well as encourage more private investment in our city.
"By working together, businesses, the Council and the City Centre Company could create a new era for many businesses who are working extremely hard on the day job and just need an extra boost to make their premises more attractive.”
City Centre Manager Stefan Krause added: “As City Centre Company (BID) we work with the Council to bring improvements to the City Centre to allow us to develop and grow as both a shopping destination and a community of businesses.
“Allowing proprietors and businesses to improve their facades and shop fronts, will enable City Centre traders to not only invest in their futures but the future of Plymouth City Centre.”
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, should the BID be established.
The programme will only apply to properties within the boundaries of the Plymouth City Centre’s Business Improvement District.
The City Centre Company works closely with Plymouth City Council to bring improvements to the City Centre to allow us to develop and grow as both a shopping destination and a community of businesses.