Town Centre Interventions Project

Shop Front Renovation Grant Scheme

The Shop Front Renovation Scheme will offer grant matched funding to local Southend businesses to spend on renovation and modernisation of shop fronts in and around the High Street area. The improvements facilitated by the scheme will include renovation works such as, improved signage, shop branding, and lighting.

Almost all works that change the exterior of buildings will need planning permission. You may also need advertising consent.

You must make a separate planning application / advertising consent application with scale drawings that show the extent of all new work, prior to applying for funding. If you are using a professional agent, they will be able to give you advice on the type of application you need.

You can also use advice services; for:

Scheme funding

Funding awarded by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership will be used to support this scheme.

A grant of up to £7,500 (including fees) will be available for each property. The grant will be available for a maximum of 75% of the project’s costs, with the remaining 25% match-funded by the business owner.

We welcome applications for projects with a total value of over £7,500 but will only be able to offer a grant to a maximum of £7,500.

Examples of external shop front works eligible for support:

  • New shop front units
  • Repairs of a shop front fixture that is visible from the street including the first and second floors of premises
  • Repainting of shop fronts in suitable colours
  • Improved signage
  • External lighting

Examples of internal and non-display improvements that would generally not be funded by the scheme:

  • Lighting within window displays
  • Window display products and equipment
  • Pedestrian access improvements
  • Repair and reinstatement of guttering
  • Externally mounted security features
  • Internal security grilles and/or security glazing

The scheme will not support works already completed or any works which started prior to a formal offer of grant funding being made.

Example of project costings

Project costings



Cost £ (exc. VAT)

Grant %

Grant £

1 Planning and agent fees 400 100% 400



















All fees can be included in the grant.

In this example Project Costs are £3,800 with 75% eligible for the  grant. This results in a project grant of £2,850, fees of £400; so a total grant of £3,250, which is within the maximum grant limit of £7,500.

Who can apply

Grants will be available to owners of independent businesses and vacant units that are located within the Southend primary shopping area. These businesses must not have more than five outlets nationally. A building within the eligible area is not automatically entitled to a grant. This decision is at the discretion of the grants board.

Leaseholders of properties are also able to apply for a grant, providing that:

  • The terms of their current lease are appropriate for the works
  • They have obtained written consent from the freeholder for the works to take place (if this is not already covered by the lease terms)
  • Their lease has a minimum of five years remaining

Applications from groups of businesses wanting to improve a communal area or frontage are also welcome. A single applicant must be nominated for overall responsibility for the grant. Joint projects will be evaluated on their ability to reduce shop-vacancy and improve the appearance of businesses in the borough.

Process of Funding

The funding process follows 6 simple steps

  1. For your application to be successful check and confirm the requirement for:
  2. Submit fully scheduled and costed proposal of works in writing.
    • Application must comply with the shop front design guide and Terms and Conditions
    • Planning and Advertising consent sought and evidenced. Please note that we will be unable to process your application without evidence that planning/advertising consent has been applied for. On the confirmation of consent approvals applications can be swiftly processed
    • Grants panel assesses the proposal against scheme objectives
  3. Grant Offer is issued
    • A signed Shop Front Renovation Scheme consent form and Terms and Conditions to be received within 28 days
  4. Grant approval with conditions attached.
    • Grant offer issued with completion timeline
    • No progress on site - grant offer withdrawn
  5. Grant offer issued with completion timeline.
    • No progress on site - grant offer withdrawn
  6. Payment
    • Grant to be paid on evidence of invoices from contractors showing a detailed breakdown of costs
    • Payment will be made once all works are completed and have been checked
  7. On-going
    • Business owner will be required to maintain the property to a satisfactory standard for a minimum of three years

This process is expected to take at least 4 weeks unless planning permission is required for the works in which case the process will take longer.

Conditions applied to funding

  • Any business benefitting from the grant must be an independent business with no more than 5 shops nationwide (This will be checked using the Companies House database)
  • On completion of works the business will be required to maintain the property to a satisfactory standard for a minimum of three years
  • All grants will be conditional on securing appropriate planning permission
  • Terms and conditions are set out in the application portal and will be issued in a grant offer letter to the business

Apply Online

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Town Centre Intervention Project

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