Funding approved to give Campbeltown shopfronts a facelift

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By Hannah O’Hanlon

The future looks bright for Campbeltown’s town centre as Argyll and Bute Council has approved £50,000 of funding to help repair and refurbish tired shopfronts.

It is hoped the shopfront improvement scheme will further improve the town centre’s appearance by building on the success of the Campbeltown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) and Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

Businesses within the designated grant area can apply for funds of up to £5,000 for works such as: painting of shopfronts; new or improved signage; and repairs to timber doors, windows and shopfronts. Other works will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Costs that can be included are: all materials and labour for the eligible physical works of the shopfront; professional fees where applicable; statutory fees for planning applications, advertisement consent or building warrants, if applicable; VAT on repair costs and fees where it cannot be recovered.

Grants are available on a first come, first served basis, and projects must be completed by March 31, 2020. If this cannot be achieved, there must either be a start on site or a contract awarded for the works by that date.

Applications cannot be made retrospectively, and internal works are not eligible for funding.

For all works a minimum of three quotations must be provided, and all necessary consents for the approved works must be obtained.

One local business owner said: ‘This is another boost for the town centre following the major repair works carried out in the last ten years via Campbeltown CARS and THI.’

Another retailer said: ‘It provides businesses with an opportunity to improve their shopfronts to attract more people into the town centre.’

Campbeltown CARS Round 1 and the THI ran from 2007 to 2015. CARS Round 6 started in 2015 and has delivered seven priority building projects safeguarding the future of a number of occupied homes and businesses and providing opportunities for vacant units to be brought back into use.

Some of the vacant ground floor units had previously been forced to close due to issues with the external fabric of these properties. The CARS-funded repairs enable these units to be brought back into use and it is hoped that the shopfront scheme will help to attract new businesses.

It is anticipated that local contractors will carry out the vast majority of the work providing another boost for the local economy and ensuring that the money remains in the area.

Between 2008 and 2012, 17 shopfronts were improved in a traditional style via Campbeltown THI and CARS Round 1, including Numero Dix, The Treehouse and The Hardware Store.

Councillor Aileen Morton, Policy Lead for Economic Development, said: ‘This funding will help refresh some of Campbeltown’s shopfronts and make the town even more appealing to visitors and residents alike.

‘I look forward to seeing the results of the work carried out by the successful applicants.’

The Campbeltown scheme is one of 11 across Argyll and Bute that will benefit from an allocation of £1,242,000 from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund.

At a meeting of full council on June 27, the following projects, alongside Campbeltown’s, were identified to receive a share of the funding: Lochgilphead Front Green additional works – £200,000; Bowmore public realm enhancements – £85,000; Rosneath Howie Park community-driven enhancements – £90,000; Hermitage Park additional community and events resource – £35,000; Helensburgh Pier pedestrian access enhancements – £85,000; Revitalisation of outdoor event space at Dunoon Public Realm/Band Stand – £200,000; and Rothesay Pontoons – £150,000.

On July 5 it was confirmed that two projects in Oban and one on Mull will also receive a share of the funding. The Rockfield Centre will be allocated £90,000, while £44,000 has been earmarked for the Oban Town Centre interpretation signage, and £150,000 will go to the first phase of the Tobermory Harbour and Public Realm enhancements.

For more information about the Campbeltown shopfront improvement scheme, please contact James Lafferty on 01586 559049 or james.lafferty@argyll-bute.gov.uk

The red line shows the the designated grant area around Campbeltown’s town centre. NO_c33shopfronts01

Before and after: The Treehouse. NO_c33shopfronts02_treehouse

Before and after: The Hardware Store. NO_c33shopfronts03_hardware

Before and after: Numero Dix. NO_c33shopfronts04_numero dix