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Grants under Town Centre Beautification Scheme hailed as a success across Torridge

They say a little money can go a long way and that was true for the Town Centre Beautification project launched by Torridge District Council back in May. As the first round of funding closes nearly £18k has been distributed across 24 applications, with a matching amount being contributed by the business owners who applied. The money, which was allocated under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, has been used to brighten up shops and business frontages in towns across the district with the aim of making town centres more attractive and visually appealing, to increase footfall and engagement with local business outlets.

The majority of the applications came from Bideford businesses with 17 in total; followed by three each in Great Torrington and Holsworthy and one application from Appledore. One of the major successes of the scheme has been the refurbishment and occupation of previously empty premises by three new businesses, creating five new jobs in the process with other openings in the pipeline. The scheme has been praised by owners for enabling them to revamp their shop frontages and in some cases helping to align the look with changes and improvements in their branding approach. In other instances structural defects have been addressed and in the case of new business openings, brand new business frontages created.

A new scheme is expected to be announced in January 2024 to build on the legacy of the existing one, which is already yielding dividends for owners in the run up to Christmas, helping their businesses stand out from the crowd.  

Councillor Bob Hicks – Lead Member for the Economy and Estates said:

“This is a great example of how a relatively modest injection of cash into the Torridge economy can leverage further investment and innovation and have a proportionally much bigger impact. Aside from the improved frontages and visually more pleasing aesthetics for our high streets, the three new businesses and five new jobs created are an outstanding success for this relatively small investment provided as part of the UK Shared Prosperity fund. I hope that more businesses, particularly those located outside of Bideford in other towns and villages across the district, will take note and consider applying when the scheme reopens in the new year.”

Amy Eira Jewellery in Bideford commented:

“Thanks again for this grant opportunity. It’s really helped me bring the shop front in line with my business branding. I really appreciate the acceptance of my grant application and I hope the town will benefit from the plans I have with my new shop.”