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Town Centre Business Grants

Our Town Centre Business Grant Scheme offers grants of up to £10,000 to businesses in Dover, Deal and Sandwich town centres.

The grants can be used to:

  • bring commercial properties back into use or
  • upgrade or improve the appearance commercial premises

The grants cover up to 50% of the cost of the project, up to a maximum of:

  •  £10,000 for the renovation of properties that have been empty for over 6 months
  • £1,000 for the renovation of occupied properties or properties that have been empty for less than 6 months

Property owners needing specialist advice on bringing their building back into commercial use can apply for an additional £500 grant.

What can the grants be used for?

  • External renovations or improvements to front elevations of buildings (areas visible from the street), including, but not limited to:
    • repairs
    • repainting of shop fronts in suitable colours
    • signage
    • external lighting
    • security grilles and/or security glazing
    • repair of external stonework and brickwork
    • repair and reinstatement of guttering and down-pipes
  • Internal ground floor fit-outs to commercial  properties
  • Professional fees associated with the development and delivery of the project, including:
    • planning application fees
    • consultancy fees
    • advisory services

Who can apply for a grant?

  • Freeholders of the commercial property
  • Leaseholders of the commercial property with at least 5 years left on their lease (when the work is anticipated to be complete). Leaseholders must have written permission from the freeholder of the property

Empty properties

You will be eligible to apply if the property is at ground level, over 10 years old and you can answer YES to the 6 out of the following 8 questions:

  1. 1. Is the property within a priority zone?  Map showing priority zones »
  2. 2. Has the property been empty for more than 6 months?
  3. 3. Are there other empty retail/commercial properties within 50 metres from this one?
  4. 4. Can the property be seen clearly from the street?
  5. 5. Is the property in poor condition? 
    For example rotten wood, leaking gutters, broken signage, damp, plumbing or electrical problems
  6. 6. When the work has been carried out will the property be suitable for trading or rent?
  7. 7. Will the renovation make a positive difference to the surrounding area?
  8. 8. Will the business create new employment?

Occupied properties or properties empty for less than 6 months

You will be eligible to apply if the property is at ground level, over 10 years old and you can answer YES to the following questions:

  1. 1. Is the property within a priority zone?  Map showing priority zones »
  2. 2. Can the property be seen clearly from the street?
  3. 3. Will the renovation make a positive difference to the surrounding area?

Eligibility to apply does not necessarily mean the application will be successful.

We will require

  • Evidence that:
    • You are the freeholder or leaseholder of the commercial property. If you are the leaseholder, we will require a copy of your lease and a copy of your Landlords written consent for the project
    • You have funds available for your share of the renovation works
    • You have any required permissions including planning permission
    • You have a sustainable business plan
  • Details of your proposals for the property and plans for the business and why they are suitable for the building/area
  • Quotes for the work
  • Recent photos of the property showing it’s condition
  • Photographic I.D.

How to apply

What happens after you apply?

Completed applications (applications that have all the relevant paperwork and evidence required)  will be assessed monthly.   Once the application has been assessed we will contact you to confirm if your application has been accepted.  We will not consider any applications that are incomplete.

When will the grant be paid?

After a grant has been approved the money will be paid when:

  • Evidence of the expenditure has been provided (VAT invoices)
  • The work is being carried out satisfactorily (we will inspect the works)

The final £1,000 will be withheld until satisfactory completion of the works.

Terms and conditions

  • Properties must be over 10 years old
  • Quotes for the work must be provided:
    • Grants of over £5,000: at least two quotes where possible
    • Grants below £5,000: one quote
  • Grant applications must be made before any work takes place
  • Our staff must be allowed to inspect the works and see all relevant documentation
  • This grant scheme can be used in conjunction with the Kent Empty Property Initiative (KEPI, also referred to as ‘No Use Empty’) when the KEPI is used for residential units above commercial properties
  • Any grant money awarded for must be repaid within 5 years of the payment if:
    • The property is sold
    • The property is empty for a total of more than 4 months in any 12 month period
    • A charge will be lodged with the land registry accordingly

Questions or further information

If you have any queries or need further information or advice please email businessgrants@dover.gov.uk.

 

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