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Popular Town Centre Grant scheme returns to help local businesses

Published: 20/03/2024
Ashford Town Centre High Street

Applications for the next round of our town centre business grants scheme are now open, providing businesses with the opportunity to apply for funding support of up to £3,000 or £10,000 to bring empty premises back into use and enable improvements to their current properties.

Following on from the success of the Ashford Town Centre Support Grant (ATCSG) which first launched in 2021 and has continued to provide support each year, Cabinet members have agreed to use s106 funding (from the Designer Outlet expansion) to deliver this scheme.

There are two grant schemes: the Shop Improvement Grant and the Empty Premises Grant. Both provide up to 60% of the cost of works. The Shop Improvement Grant could provide up to £3,000 for work that needs to be carried out such as repairs or renovations to shopfronts, energy efficiency improvements or accessibility improvements. The Empty Premises Grant could provide up to £10,000 for bringing an empty town centre unit back into use.

The deadline for this round of applications is Tuesday 30 April 2024. Depending on the final number of applications received the council may consider further rounds after this date.

For more information and to apply visit our dedicated Ashford Town Centre Business Grants web page.

Council role in supporting businesses

The Town Centre Reset, approved by Cabinet in November 2022, considers what role the council can play to directly influence any ‘reset’ of the traditional town centre area so that it can remain relevant in the current economic climate. Town Centre Grants are a proven method to affect change directly and quickly to revitalise town centres and support the businesses trading there.

Cllr Heather Hayward, Portfolio Holder for Performance and Direction: “The Council is committed to tackling some of the issues we are seeing nationally in our town centres, particularly around empty shops. This is why we are once again providing this type of grant scheme to help to bring much needed improvements to active premises and fill empty properties.

“We know it is tough on the high street, which is why we are trying our best to support businesses with this grant scheme and other initiatives.

“We have a full and varied events programme planned again this year with the Food & Drink Festival in the summer, Create Music Village in the autumn, and the popular Carnival of the Baubles event back again this winter. We also have the Love Ashford website and social channels promoting the best local offers and a team dedicated to providing support and advice to businesses.”