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New Vibrant Wiltshire grants will help to fill empty town centre shops

Wiltshire Council is launching a new grants programme in the new year to help businesses in the county bring vacant shops and commercial spaces back into use.

Published 14 December 2023

Wiltshire Council is launching a new grants programme in the new year to help businesses in the county bring vacant shops and commercial spaces back into use.

The Vibrant Wiltshire grants programme, which is part of the Wiltshire Towns Programme, opens in January 2024 and will be available for businesses that open premises in targeted town centre areas throughout the county.

The grants are worth up to £10,000 and will support many small or micro businesses, including new start-ups, who wish to lease or rent a previously empty commercial property in a town centre location.

The eligible town centre areas have been agreed with the 22 town councils included in the Wiltshire Towns Programme. The types of businesses eligible may provide services or offer creative, cultural and community uses. 

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: The Vibrant Wiltshire grants programme will help small businesses to fill empty shops and commercial units in high streets throughout Wiltshire, attracting more visitors and improving the vibrancy of our market towns.

We're committed to creating and supporting vibrant town centres in our Business Plan, and that's why we've invested £1m a year for four years into the Wiltshire Towns Programme, with £500,000 of that being allocated to Vibrant Wiltshire grants.

We are aware of the impact empty units have on our high streets and are supporting local businesses to move into town centre locations and add to the existing shopping and service options. We are pleased to provide flexibility through the programme, which will support both the permanent and temporary uses of premises.

Ruth Lambert, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: These new grants will help to support local support businesses to take the leap into new high street premises, which may be a move they could not currently afford alone.

"Not only will these grants help those businesses to grow, they will also help to boost the vibrancy of Wiltshire towns that other small businesses are already based in, making them more appealing to customers and staff alike.

The Vibrant Wiltshire grants range from £1,000 to a maximum of £10,000. The types of businesses eligible may be those providing services, and/or creative, cultural and community uses into the following town centres: Amesbury, Bradford on Avon, Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Downton, Ludgershall, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Melksham, Mere, Pewsey, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Tidworth, Tisbury, Trowbridge, Warminster, Westbury and Wilton. Businesses must bring empty commercial units back into use on a permanent or temporary basis within eligible areas.

Applications can be made by business owners or directors of registered independent businesses, charities or social enterprises, or sole traders or self-employed individuals, who are bringing a new business to a town centre or relocating a current business within a town centre. A signed lease for the premises is required.  

To find out more about the Vibrant Wiltshire grants, people should go to or email (opens new window).

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