Businesses will be offered £20,000 grants to lure them back to town centre after Bolton Council approves plan
BUSINESSES will be offered bumper cash grants to open up in Bolton town centre.
Members of Bolton Council’s cabinet yesterday approved proposals for a “business support scheme”, which will aim to revitalise the town centre by filling vacant units.
The scheme will see £1.5 million made available to businesses who can apply for two levels of grant — either £20,000 and below or for bigger grants of more than £20,000. The lower tier grants will be “fast-tracked” in a bid to get the process moving swiftly.
The one-off money will come from a funding pot set aside by the council for improvements to the town centre.
Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said at the cabinet meeting: “People seem to have responded quite well to the plans — we even got support from the Women’s Institute, so I think we must be doing something right.”
Cllr Morris has previously stated how he hopes the scheme will create a more “vibrant” town centre and that he hopes to build “a Bolton brand” with family businesses and businesses unique to the area being encouraged to set up shop.
Part of that brand will mean that only certain types of traders will be eligible for the grant — with greengrocers, toy shops, CD stores and restaurants among those being encouraged to apply. Other types of business including pound shops, book-makers and takeaways will not be eligible.
Bradshawgate, with its high proportion of pubs and clubs, has also been earmarked for improve-ment and the council hopes more restaurants will set up along Bolton’s “bar street”.
There is also hope that some businesses, which have previously chosen to leave the town centre, may consider moving back because of the money that is available.
The scheme has also been welcomed by Bolton’s Conservative group, although there was a suggestion that the scheme could go further.
Conservative deputy leader, Andy Morgan, speaking at the meeting, said: “I think it is a really innovative scheme.”
Business leaders have also backed the scheme. Rod Neasham, manager of the Market Place, said: “This deserves our support and anything that enlivens the town centre and encourages the re-letting of vacant units is a good thing.”
Bolton Council will now begin the process of contacting businesses to see if they are interested in the grants.
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