We all know that parts of the High Street look a mess. So it’s good news that the borough council meeting tonight will consider “[addressing] the appearance of the area by funding and implementing physical improvements to the front elevations of existing independent businesses to create attractive, thriving town and district centres that people are proud of, that customers want to visit and will encourage further investment by the existing businesses themselves.”
The ‘Shop Front Improvement Grant Scheme’ – called the Kevin Cantlon Fund, after the late Economic Development Officer – will have £100,000 allocated to it in 2017/18 if the council approves the proposal.
We wonder how the council will administer the fund. Some retailers have a better track record of maintaining their premises than others. Will the ‘slackers’ be given preferential treatment by the fund? Would this be fair? What about retail premises that have planning permission for redevelopment? Who will decide what is visually-acceptable? Will any retailer who closes their shop shortly after benefitting have to reimburse the council if the shop front is changed by a future tenant?…… We watch with interest.