Havant Borough Council has launched a new initiative to transform empty shops and underused spaces in Waterlooville Town Centre.
The new grant scheme invites customer-facing businesses to apply for up to £50K each to support them in moving into the town centre area.
Helping to tackle the issues and additional pressures the town centre is facing the council is looking to create a long-term solution to the current high vacancy rates by launching a new grant scheme.
All retail, food and beverage, leisure, hospitality, arts and culture as well as professional services including health providers are being encouraged to express their interest in gaining grants for capital works to fit out vacant shops.
Councillor Alex Rennie, Leader of Havant Borough Council, said “As part of our ongoing commitment to work with local people and to help tackle the issues and additional pressures high streets face, we have a wide range of interventions for Waterlooville Town Centre.
“Societal trends and the economic recession have meant that many retail businesses based in the town centre are struggling, some retailers have closed down resulting in vacant units appearing.
“By making funds totalling £140,000 available to tackle these vacancy rates, the Vacant Shop Scheme will support commerce in returning to the town centre.”
Interventions including the installation of CCTV and free 30-minute parking have already been introduced, with more concepts planned for the town centre area, including addressing the visual appearance by creating a green space bringing together a unique experience for businesses, residents and shoppers.
Havant Borough Council’s aim is to encourage new uses to create a vibrant animated atmosphere, working closely with landowners, and businesses.
Open to start-up and expanding businesses, the funding is available to refit, repair and renovate premises within the Waterlooville Vacant Shop Scheme Zone.
An expression of interest form must be completed and returned before midnight on 10 September 2023. More information can be found at www.havant.gov.uk/waterlooville