New grant boost hope for Fylde town centres

Small, independent businesses are being invited to apply for a new post-Covid recovery grant to help stimulate Fylde’s town centre economies.

By Tony Durkin
Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 9:30 am

Under the Additional Restrictions Grant, businesses locating to, or expanding into, vacant premises in in Lytham, St Annes or Kirkham could be eligible to receive 50 per cent of the set-up, shop fit, refit or branding costs at a value of up to £10,000.

The new grant of central Government cash distributed locally has been established to support the recovery of the local economy – and among the key criteria is that eligible businesses must be able to attract people to the high street.

Coun Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Council, said: “The council has made a commitment to support the recovery of the local economy following the huge challenges we have faced during the pandemic.

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St Annes town centre

“A vitally important element of our economy is the small independent businesses in our three town centres.

“Even before the pandemic they were facing severe challenges and having to reinvent themselves.

“We hope this grant will incentivise businesses and help breathe new life into Lytham, St Annes and Kirkham at this critical time.”

Eligible businesses are those moving or expanding into a vacant premise in a town centre; offering an in-person service which would generate footfall; is a small independent sole trader/operator or locally-based chain with the premises in specific locations including ground floor shop frontage can apply now up to December 31.

Applications will also be assessed on whether the business operates in a priority sector for the local economy which includes retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism and whether it fills a gap in the market to attract people to the town centres throughout the week.

The grant would also support costs from operating in a Covid-secure manner such as one-way systems, plastic screens, procurement of PPE and hygiene provisions, or employment of additional staff to manage Covid-secure measures.

Denize Ashton, chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership, said: "The grant offering is a not to be missed opportunity if you have a business plan in mind and a fantastic way of attracting brand new independent business into the Fylde area or helping existing ones expand into other locations.

"People have had enough of identikit high streets and are hankering after something you cannot find everywhere, either to buy, eat or experience.

"I hope fledgling business will give this offer serious consideration."

A spokesman for the St Annes Enterprise Partnership said: "We are delighted to hear about Fylde Council's support for independent, local businesses, the plan to incentivise the filling of empty shop fronts to increase footfall and encouragement of entrepreneurial businesses into the town. This should provide a great post-Covid boost for the area. "

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