25/04/12....Cash boost to improve Thame shop fronts -
BECAUSE of high demand for funds made available recently to help Thame shopkeepers spruce up their frontages, more money has now been made available.
Shopkeepers in Thame, chinnor and Wheatley are being encouraged to help brighten up their surroundings and make a real difference to the local shopping area, by taking advantage of this follow-on shop front improvement scheme, being funded by South Oxfordshire District Council's Economic Development team.
The scheme is open to all freehold owners, lease holders (with at least five years on their lease) and tenants of premises in Thame with commercial shop fronts. These include:
shops – including hairdressers, beauty salons, funeral directors, laundrettes, dry cleaners etc
financial and professional services – banks, building societies and estate agents
restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways.
Funding is available for work ranging from entirely new shop fronts and large scale replacement and repair work, to painting, signage, displays or lighting.
Since large parts of Thame town centre are in a conservation area, this can add significantly to the costs. The grant will therefore help to reduce the impact and improve the appearance of the town centre.
Trudy Godfrey, Shared Economic Development Team Leader at SODC, said: "Shop fronts are the most noticeable part of a building and make a big impact on a town centre. They contribute to people’s first impressions and can dramatically affect a town’s image."
Last year ten businesses in Thame took advantage of the first round of funding, including Mary Brooks, Austins and Eclipse Hair Design.
Applications must be received by June 30, 2012, and work completed by September 30,2012.
The scheme is being administered by 21st Century Thame, a partnership of representatives from Thame Town Council, businesses and community groups, South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council and is being funded by South Oxfordshire District Council.
The scheme can provide up to 50 per cent of the total expenditure on the project, with each project required to match the funding by 50 per cent. A maximum of £2,000 in funding is available per shop front.
Cat Young, of 21st Century Thame, said: “We're delighted that SODC have chosen to fund a second round of shop front improvements. The work done to date has helped to make the town more welcoming to visitors and gives them a reason to come back again and again – all of which positively impacts on the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre.”
Cllr Judith Nimmo-Smith, cabinet member for economic development, technical services and property at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “I encourage shopkeepers in Thame to consider taking up this offer. High quality shop fronts make a town feel more welcoming to local residents and visitors; they help to give a place a sense of identity; and, most importantly, they encourage more people to visit the shops.”
Anyone interested in applying for a shop front improvement grant should complete the application form at www.southoxon.gov.uk/thame or email Helena Fickling at email@example.com