Wiltshire Council launches Trowbridge Future High Streets scheme for Vacant Commercial Units

Wiltshire Council is inviting applications from commercial property owners, business owners, directors, or landlords in Trowbridge town centre for funding from its newly launched Vacant Commercial Units Fund.

Published 20 September 2022

The council has created a Vacant Commercial Unit Fund (VCUF) of £1.2 million using some of the £16,347,056 awarded to Trowbridge from the Government's Future High Streets Fund in May 2021.

The fund aims to support the improvement of Trowbridge town centre and help renew and reshape the high street in a way that improves the experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council said; "Trowbridge high street has faced many challenges recently with changing shopping habits and COVID-19 and the Future High Streets investment will help transform Trowbridge town centre into a vibrant place to live, work and shop.

"With this new scheme, we hope to attract applications from commercial property owners and businesses that will bring empty commercial spaces back into use. We will also support bids to convert upper floors of commercial premises to residential use. The scheme should reduce the number of vacant properties in the town centre and create new jobs for local people.

"A key aim for the council is to support its market towns, to enhance their vitality and the long-term sustainability of town centres. This grant programme aims to encourage the longer-term occupation of vacant retail premises, helping boost footfall, stimulate entrepreneurship, create new jobs and enhance the sustainability of businesses in Trowbridge town centre."

"Trowbridge currently has a below average representation of restaurants, pubs and cafes which has an impact on customer experience. We would also like to see a more diverse range of businesses from independent retailers and personal services for health and care, alongside a better night-time experience."

"Our work with landowners has identified that there is often a viability gap to meet the initial costs of converting a vacant unit or an upper floor into more viable uses, such as residential uses. The purpose of the grants is to redress this situation by helping landlords and high street businesses make investments that would otherwise be financially unviable."

The council has allocated £1.2million to this grant scheme, with small and large grants available in two ranges:

  • Small grant awards between £2,500 and £24,999
  • Large grant awards from £25,000 and £100,000

Grants over £100,000 will be considered in exceptional circumstances where the applicant can demonstrate the activity will be transformative and act as a catalyst to economic growth in Trowbridge.

Grant applications must be for improvements to properties located in Trowbridge town centre and applicants must contribute at least 25% of the total costs of the investment.

The closing date for applications for Vacant Commercial Units Grants scheme is Friday 24 November 2023. However, the scheme will close sooner if the funds set at £1.2million are committed to projects beforehand.

Wiltshire Council is hosting a webinar on Tuesday 27 September at 6pm - 7pm for anyone interested in finding out more about the Trowbridge Future High Streets scheme for Vacant Commercial Units. If you would like to attend, please email communications@wiltshire.gov.uk

More information about the overall Future High Street Fund programme and the Vacant Commercial Units Fund is also available at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/vacant-commercial-units-fund.

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Published 20 September 2022