Council scheme in Mid Suffolk offers businesses a chance to spruce up their shopfronts

The vision aims to improve Stowmarket Picture: GREGG BROWN

The vision aims to improve Stowmarket Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: GREGG BROWN

Shops and businesses in Mid Suffolk’s market towns are being given the chance to apply for funding to help spruce up their shopfronts and make them more accessible.

Gerard Brewster, MSDC's cabinet member for economy Picture: ARCHANT

Gerard Brewster, MSDC's cabinet member for economy Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Up to £350,000 of funding will be up for grabs through two schemes being launched by Mid Suffolk District Council.

The Shop Front Scheme will offer funding to cover 75% of the costs to shop front improvements worth up to £15,000 while the Accessibility Scheme offers up to £5,000 to improve access.

The money is available for businesses in Stowmarket, Needham Market, Eye and the surrounding villages.

Councillor Gerald Brewster, Mid Suffolk’s cabinet member for economy, said: “Our high streets are at the heart of the local economy, not only for residents who use them regularly but for visitors who travel from far and wide to see out historic towns and their attractions. This scheme provides businesses the chance to revitalise their shop fronts, keeping our high streets attractive, interesting and accessible making them good places to visit and enjoy.”

The funds will be awarded for a range of projects including new shop fronts, painting, lighting, cladding, shop front signage and new awnings and for improvement work that will make businesses more accessible, including widening of doorways, removal of steps, power assisted doors and training.

The schemes are also open to listed buildings, with officers ready to offer help to applicants with necessary planning applications to make sure heritage sites are upgraded in a sympathetic way.

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Councillor Julie Flatman, MSDC’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Our communities have really excelled themselves in creating welcoming atmospheres for everyone, from Needham Market’s Dementia Action Alliance to Stowmarket’s Community Luncheon Club,

“These grants will support out businesses in making the bricks and mortar of their shops as accessible and welcoming to shoppers as the people who run them.”

Councillor John Matthiessen added: “The Green Party welcomes this scheme to try and make the town look a bit nicer and attract and retain shoppers.

“What is also particularly welcome is the £100,000 to improve access for people with disabilities.”

For advice and information about the two schemes, call 03001234000 or write to the team at Mid Suffolk Shop Front Grant Scheme, Economic Development Team, Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.

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