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Coronavirus - general information

ARG Vacant High Street Premises/Fleetwood Market Vacant Stalls Grant

Wyre Council’s Business Plan includes a commitment to support businesses to grow, prosper and recover and this is particularly important following the covid-19 pandemic. The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) Vacant High Street Premises/Fleetwood Market Vacant Stalls Grant has been established to provide support towards start-up costs for small local businesses who take on vacant premises on our main town/village high streets between 1 April 2021 and 31 December 2021 (subject to availability of grant funding). We are also keen that vacant stalls/units within Fleetwood Market that are subject to business rates also benefit from the scheme.

Prior to the pandemic, our high streets were already struggling to compete with online retailers and some of the charm and individuality was being lost as businesses were forced to close or reduce premises. We want to revitalise our key shopping areas and we are keen for expressions of interest to be submitted to the Economic Development Team.

The ARG Vacant High Street Premises/Fleetwood Market Vacant Stalls grant will support new businesses with a contribution towards the initial investment for shop/stall fitting, covid safe measures and set-ups costs.

Who should apply for the ARG Vacant Premises Grant?

Businesses which meet all the following criteria can apply for a grant:

  • Moving or expanding into a vacant / empty high street unit in the town centre
  • Offering an in-person service that would generate footfall to the town centre
  • Small independent sole trader / operator or locally based chain
  • Premises must be within the town/village centre locations as agreed by Economic Development
  • Premises must include ground floor shop frontage
  • Must have been trading on 1st January 2021

Exclusions

  • Businesses that are part of a large regional or national chain / franchise in the food and drink, hospitality, or beauty / hair sectors
  • Existing businesses relocating from one town centre location in Wyre to a different town centre (unless expanding)
  • Businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made
  • Business that might duplicate or displace already established businesses
  • Businesses that do not have fixed premises in the town centre

Assessment & Award

Applicants can claim for up to 75% of the setup, shop fitting, refit, or branding cost of the business to a maximum of £25,000.

The amount awarded to eligible applicants will be based on an assessment of the project proposal on a case by case basis considering the following criteria:

  • The refit cost of moving into the premises
  • Initial set-up costs prior to the opening of the business
  • Whether the business operates in a priority sector for the local economy which includes retail, hospitality, leisure, and tourism
  • Whether the business would fill a gap that exists in the town centre offer to generate footfall throughout the day – not just retail
  • The impact on the ability to trade because of social distancing and lockdown measures, e.g. reduced opening hours, mandated closures, reduction of customers able to access the premises, or travel guidance
  • Additional costs because of operating in a COVID-secure manner, e.g. adaptions to premises such as one-way systems or plastic screens, procurement of PPE and hygiene provisions, or employment of additional staff to manage COVID-secure measures
  • The financial viability of the business in terms of cash flow and reserves

 Grant Conditions

  • Only one grant per eligible business premise will be paid
  • Grants will only be paid to the business owner and to the business bank account
  • Businesses will receive a single grant payment on production of certified receipts
  • Applicants must demonstrate a clear viability gap through their application form, business plan and cash flow forecast
  • The application will need to outline the need and demand for the business and how it will increase footfall to the town centre
  • The business must offer / provide a high street frontage
  • Businesses already well represented in the town centre will need to demonstrate added value or difference to the existing town centre offer
  • The grant cannot be used to pay for rent, business rates or staff costs
  • The grant can be spent on set up costs including building refurbishment, fixtures and fittings, utility connection costs and business marketing/branding
  • The application must be submitted by December 31st, 2021 to allow time to process the scheme by March 31st, 2022.
  • Any award will be made on approval of the application with payment on invoice of works / services completed.

Tax Implications

  • Grant income received by a business is taxable, therefore the ARG Vacant High Street Premises/Fleetwood Market Vacant Stalls Grant will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business
  • Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax

Do the rules about subsidies apply?

The Brexit transition period has ended and new rules on subsidy control now apply. The ARG Vacant High Street Premises/Fleetwood Market Vacant Stalls Grant is a subsidy. If a receiving a grant may mean that your business (or any group of which it forms part) has had £1,950,000 or more in subsidies in the last three years, we will need to ask you for more information and you are invited to contact us directly regarding your business. You can read more on the rules about subsidies here.

How to apply?

Potential applicants will be required to submit an expression of interest via the application form. This will be allocated to a case officer who will act as the lead liaison for the grant application. They will make all necessary checks with licensing, planning and other regulatory functions to assess the viability of the proposal, and work closely with the applicant to make an award wherever possible.

An application should only be made if a business meets the eligibility criteria and is not excluded. Please read the information above for details.  Please DO NOT apply if the business does not meet the required criteria.

Click here to begin your application

The deadline to apply for the ARG Vacant Premises Grant is 31 December 2021. However, please note this is subject to funds being available.

For more information, please read the scheme policy and outline scheme documents.

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