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Shop owners invited to bid for new improvement grants

Published on 13 March 2017

RETAILERS from key shopping areas in Leicester are being invited to bid for city council grants to help improve their properties.

Leicester City Council has made £615,000 available to extend a project that is helping to improve shopping streets across the city.

Under the scheme – which was originally launched in 2012 – independent retailers can apply for match-funding to improve their shop fronts and help give important gateways into the city a makeover.

A second phase of the programme will focus on seven neighbourhood shopping areas along with busy shopping streets linked to city centre regeneration schemes.

Areas being targeted include Aylestone Village, Barley Croft Centre, Heyford Road, King Richard’s Road, Saffron Lane, St Stephen’s Road and Wharf Street North. In the city centre, the improvement grants will be focussed around Leicester Market and the Church Gate shopping area.

All grants offered through the scheme will require a guarantee of match-funding from the business owner.

Money will also be available to help encourage new business start-ups and bring vacant shops back into use in shopping areas across the city.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Independent retailers play a vital role in making our city’s shopping areas attractive to customers, visitors and potential investors.

“The retail improvement grant scheme will give local shop owners an extra incentive to invest in making their properties more attractive, and make a valuable contribution to improving the overall appearance of key shopping areas.

“We want to continue to build on the lasting improvements made during the first phase of this scheme.”

Over 100 businesses have been supported through the scheme so far, and grants totalling over £370,000 have been awarded. This has helped to attract over £335,000 in private sector investment.

Key projects have included giving the shops at the grade II-listed YMCA building on Granby Street a makeover, and sprucing up almost 40 shops along the Golden Mile with bright, new paint jobs.

To find out more about the retail improvement grant scheme, and how to apply, visit www.leicester.gov.uk/shopfrontgrant