‘Shop improvement grant schemes help small businesses to grow’

20 January 2023

A Knottingley businessman has praised the Council's efforts to promote a vibrant high street through its shop improvement grant scheme.

Owner of Skinworx Tattoos, Jan Lawrence, was one of ten business owners to receive a grant to improve their storefronts in 2019.

By designing a more inviting shop front, he was able to attract more clients, grow his business, and help revitalise the high street.

As a result of the grant savings, the business had more money to invest in other areas in order to achieve success.

“We've got a nice new sign. The shop front now has a double door and double-glazed windows. "We had single-glazed windows for many years because it was quite expensive to replace them," he said on Rhubarb Radio's The Regeneration Show.

“For a new business that’s just setting up, it can cost a lot of money to do a shop front. That's why the high street looks the way it does today ... so, if the council is willing to help you, I would definitely recommend it."

There were a few dated sections of Hill Top, prior to the improvement scheme but there has since been an increase in businesses with modern, high-quality shop fronts that contribute to improving the look and feel of the local area.

The programme was launched in 2019 and saw a joint investment of more than £135,000. Businesses were eligible to receive 80% of the costs of their works, up to a maximum grant of £10,000.

It is intended that these programs will increase footfall, boost businesses, and contribute to the local economy.

Based on Knottingley's success, Wakefield Council's Corporate Director for Regeneration Mark Lynam has said that the project is being expanded with schemes in Bread Street in Wakefield City, Sagar Street in Castleford, Ossett, Horbury, South Elmsall, South Kirby, and Moorthorpe.

“Shop owners in those areas can apply for a maximum grant of up to £10,000. We will provide 80% of the cost of the work they wish to have done. It can be used for repairing, restoring upper and lower façades windows. Particularly given the fact that energy prices are going through the roof, the more we can do to make sure we reduce costs in that way while also improving the look and feel of the property, then even better. Anything to do with improving the upper floors, painting walls, canopies, gantry, signage, internal refits, all of that is in scope. So we're happy to be very flexible in terms of what the businesses need.”

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