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Wychavon Business Front Improvement Grant Eligibility Criteria
The deadline for Wychavon Business Front Improvement Grant applications is Sunday 30 June 2024

Use the links below to find the information that you need:

How much support can I apply for?

Who can apply?

Do I have to contribute anything?

Other eligibility criteria

What can the grant be used for?

What won’t it pay for?

Applying for a grant

How will applications be assessed?

What happens once I have made an application?

The offer of a grant

Payment of grant

VAT

Debt

Wychavon District Council liability

Repayment of grant

Data Sharing

How much support can I apply for? 

  • Grants of between £500 and £10,000 are available to apply for. Only one grant per retail unit will be awarded.

All grants are made at the discretion of Wychavon District Council subject to availability of funding. Funding is limited and therefore it is advised to apply early.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to small and medium sized businesses including limited companies, sole traders, community interest companies and organisations such as charities and fully constituted community groups.

Existing business owners, new start-ups can and owners of occupied or empty units located within the defined areas in Droitwich Spa and Evesham, can apply. Please use our Business Front Improvement Grant eligibility map, pdf Droitwich Business Grant Map (519 KB) and pdf Evesham Business Grant Map (934 KB)  to check if your premises is within the defined area.

Do I have to contribute anything?

Businesses/organisations will have to contribute at least 50% of the cost of the project. This must be funded by the business and not by other public funding.

Other eligibility criteria

  • The business/organisation must be based at a commercial premises or looking to occupy a currently vacant commercial premises within the area defined on the map. This must be the address from which the business operates, not simply the registered address.
  • The scheme allows tenants of properties to apply for a grant as well as property owners. Applications from leaseholders with less than 3 years unexpired on the lease will need to be made jointly with the landlord.
  • The business/organisation must meet the criteria for a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME).
  • Businesses must be open for a minimum of 5 days a week at the time of applying.
  • The retail unit can be used for a variety of purposes such as retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care services or provision of financial services, subject to either meeting the current planning use class or obtaining permission for change of use.
  • The applicant must have all the necessary permissions and licenses to operate the business (these include planning permission for change of use of premises and/or proposed building works, listed building consent, building regulations, advertising consent for signage, licencing as applicable/necessary for the business and proposed changes that are subject to the grant aided works) – grants can be provisionally agreed subject to all the necessary planning consents being obtained but no grants will be paid until these are in place.
  • The application must demonstrate adherence to Wychavon District Council’s shop front design guide (Design Code when adopted).
  • The applicant must hold a business rates account for the property, even if they are exempt from paying rates (unless the landlord is responsible for business rates). Checks may be carried out to confirm this and we will advise if further information is required.
  • The applicant must hold a business bank account in the name of the business (a ‘trading as’ account is acceptable). Applicants can apply for the Business Front Improvement Grant before the business bank account is set up. However, the account must be set up before the grant is paid.
  • The applicant must not have any outstanding debts payable to Wychavon District Council e.g. Business Rates, Council Tax. (Checks will be made).
  • Applicants must comply with subsidy control rules. This means that any support and grants received from a public organisation over the last 3 years must be declared on the application form. Businesses will not be eligible for the grant if the value of the support and grants exceed the Minimum Financial Assistance (MFA) threshold of £315,000 (this applies at company group level).
  • By applying for a grant, you are confirming you have the appropriate insurances to operate the business and undertake the improvement works.
  • By applying for a grant, the applicant gives consent for Wychavon District Council to involve the business in publicity in relation to the award of the grant, e.g. social media, press releases and photographs of the building (no photos of people are required).
  • The applicant must ensure that the property is maintained to the same standard as when the work was completed for at least one year. Evidence of this will be requested.
  • The applicant must agree to take part in any monitoring and produce relevant information as requested 12 months after the grant is paid and provide feedback for programme evaluation and development.
  • The applicant must agree to display evidence that acknowledges the source of funding received i.e. poster or window sticker in line with UKSPF guidance.

What can the grant be used for?

Examples of how the grant can be used include but are not limited to:

  • Repair all or part of a shop front that is visible from the street, including the upper facade of premises.
  • Reinstatement of a pdf traditionally styled shop front (10.83 MB) .
  • Repainting of shop fronts in suitable heritage colours (including render). Heritage colour ranges are available through most paint suppliers.
  • Re-pointing, repair and cleansing of external stonework and brickwork.
  • Replacement fascia signage to be more in keeping with the character of the building and area.
  • Lighting
  • Fabric roller blind awnings and canopies.
  • Replacement of stonework or brickwork which forms part of the stall riser of the shop front.
  • Legal and other professional fees associated with the acquisition or lease of an empty unit in the schemes defined area.
  • Legal and other professional fees associated with the grant aided works e.g. planning application, architect drawings, surveys.

What won’t it pay for?

We won’t fund:

  • Recurring revenue costs (including salaries, stock, rent, utility charges, subscriptions, licences, etc).
  • Items purchased or purchases initiated (e.g. orders placed) prior to the date of the grant offer letter will not be eligible for the grant with the exception of feasibility work agreed in the grant offer letter.
  • Advertising costs for example print or online marketing.
  • Repaying existing loans or debts.
  • Items subject to hire/lease agreements.
  • Costs such as equipment, office furniture, machinery and marketing are not eligible for this grant. Businesses can apply for Wychavon's Business Growth Grant for this instead.
  • Activities that may bring Wychavon District Council into disrepute.
  • Initiatives promoting a political party.
  • Initiatives that conflict with existing council policies.
  • Window display equipment.
  • Externally mounted security features.

Applying for a grant

The fastest and easiest way to apply is online. Funding is limited and therefore it is advised to apply early.

You will need to provide comparable quotes for the work you intend to carry out and one of the quotes must be from a company you intend to use for the project. How many quotes you need to provide will depend on the value of the work. Please see below:

  • Item value < £1,000: 1 quote
  • Item value £1,000 - £5,000: 2 quotes
  • Item value > £5,000: 3 quotes

All quotes need to be in pound sterling. Calculation of the grant offer will be based on the best value for money.

You will need to have all the appropriate insurances to operate the business and undertake the project for which you are applying.

You will also need to provide other documents including:

  • Evidence of ownership or lease agreement if renting. We may request other evidence of occupancy of the address e.g. utility bill at the assessment stage.
  • If you are a leaseholder, evidence of permission from the landlord to undertake the proposed works e.g. relevant sections of the lease, written consent.
  • Schedule of works – a full description of the improvement works you intend to carry out.
  • Architectural drawings – depending on the extent of the proposed works, drawings that show your proposals will be required.
  • Photos of the current condition of the empty unit and/or frontage of occupied unit. The applicant must include a photo of the surrounding buildings.
  • Consideration of environmental impacts of undertaking the work, including materials used and impact on energy efficiency of the property.
  • Documents relevant to permissions to set up/operate your business, if applicable e.g. planning permission for change of use and/or proposed building works, listed building consent, license, advertising consent for signage. Find out if your property is listed.
  • Sole traders/partnerships – correspondence from HMRC to verify the Unique Tax Reference.
  • How your project meets the evaluation criteria set out below.

If you require a paper application, please call 01386 565 396 or 01386 565 464.

How will applications be assessed?

Wychavon officers and Place Board members will score applications on how well they meet the scheme’s aims, which are to:

  • Boost footfall within the town.
  • Encourage occupancy of vacant units.
  • Encourage adherence to our Shop Front Design Guide and forthcoming Design Codes
  • Encourage a vibrant, mixed selection of retailers and hospitality to invest in the town.
  • Improve perceptions of the town centre and businesses while showcasing its historic character.

Four other factors will also be considered:

  • Location
  • Value for money
  • Quality of work
  • Overall visual impact of the works

Including a building within the eligible area does not give any automatic entitlement to a grant.

The scheme will prioritise small and independent businesses, with preference being given to those businesses with less than five locations in the UK.

Each application will be judged on its own merits with regard to how well it meets the scheme’s aims and eligibility criteria and its ability to be implemented as detailed in application form. 

Wychavon District Council will not enter into a commitment until the formal acceptance of the offer of the grant (this will be subject to the terms and conditions of the scheme).

What happens once I have made an application?

Once your application has been assessed, the panel may decide to:

  • Offer a grant.
  • Offer a grant subject to all planning consents being obtained.
  • Request further information from the applicant.
  • Reject the application

You will be notified in writing. This will specify:

  • The eligible applicant.
  • The eligible goods/services to be accessed/purchased.
  • The approved cost calculated in accordance with the quotation representing the best value for money submitted with the application.
  • The maximum amount of grant awarded.
  • Any special conditions which must be completed before payment of the grant e.g. evidence of planning consent, licence, registration for business rates, insurance.
  • The date by which the grant claim should be submitted.
  • All decisions of Wychavon District Council are final.

The offer of a grant

An offer of a grant must be accepted within two weeks of receipt of the grant offer letter by returning a copy signed by the applicant.

Important considerations

  • Expenditure incurred for feasibility work including planning permissions, architectural drawings and surveys undertaken prior to the grant agreement letter at the applicant's own risk can be considered as a match funding contribution towards the project.
  • No grant aided work is to be carried out other than in accordance with the agreed project outlined in the application and as agreed in the offer letter.
  • Wychavon District Council must be notified immediately of any variations needed to the agreed offer and before any variation to the application takes place.
  • Variations to the agreement must be approved in writing prior to such work commencing. Wychavon District Council reserves the right to refuse the grant for changes to the specification which it deems not appropriate for the scheme.
  • Where the applicant proposes to change supplier of goods/services, Wychavon District Council reserves the right to request fresh estimates if not already received.
  • Approved schemes must be completed by the date specified in the offer letter unless agreed otherwise by Wychavon District Council. The applicant must inform Wychavon District Council immediately if the deadline cannot be met. Wychavon District Council will then consider the most appropriate action but is under no obligation to alter the conditions in the original offer letter and therefore no obligation to offer assistance for works undertaken after the original deadline date.

Payment of grant

  • Grants are discretionary and Wychavon District Council reserves the right to withhold payment of the grant in whole or part if any condition of the offer letter has been breached.
  • The applicant must inform Wychavon District Council upon completion of the works.
  • The applicant must submit the claim (including receipted invoices) for grant assistance by the date stated in the offer letter. This is normally within 3 months.
  • Payment will be subject to the applicant having satisfactorily completed the project, complied with all terms and conditions of the scheme and any special conditions set out in the grant offer letter.
  • If the actual costs are less than those outlined in the application and agreed in the offer letter, payment will be calculated on 50% of the actual amount in accordance with the receipted invoices.
  • Payment of the grant will only be made when Wychavon District Council receives copies of paid invoices for the approved grant from the applicant. Invoices dated before the date of the offer letter will not be eligible for payment with the exception of feasibility work agreed in the grant offer letter.
  • If the costs of the proposed project exceed the amount stated in the application, Wychavon District Council is not obliged to increase the grant amount.
  • Payment of the grant will be made into the applicant’s business bank account (or ‘trading as’ account) via BACS.
  • Please note: The Local Government Transparency Code requires Local Government to publish the payments that they make. As part of our commitment to providing financial transparency, Wychavon District Council will publish individual payments with a value of £250 and over on our website. You will be required to state the name you wish to appear on the council website (e.g. your trading name; your name; or “small business owner”) when you accept the grant offer.

VAT

Applicants who are VAT registered will have their grant assessed on the net cost of eligible projects; non-registered applicants on the gross cost. If the applicant does not know whether they are VAT registered or not, they must seek advice from HM Revenue & Customs.

Debt

A check will be made to ascertain whether the applicant has any outstanding debts owed to Wychavon District Council, such as Business Rates or Council Tax. If it is found that such debts exist, Wychavon District Council reserves the right to withhold grant payment until such debts are cleared.

Wychavon District Council liability

  • Wychavon District Council, its officers and agents shall not at any time be held liable to any person in relation to any loss or damage arising, either directly or indirectly, as a result of compliance by the applicant with these terms and conditions of grant.
  • Award of the grant does not imply that Wychavon District Council is expressing a view regarding the business or its products/services nor that it accepts responsibility for any debts, or liabilities incurred by the applicant or the business.

Repayment of grant

Wychavon District Council reserves the right to recover all or part of the grant it has provided if:

  • The applicant is found to have improperly tried to influence the decision of any officer or Elected Member of Wychavon District Council in the award of a grant.
  • The proposed business does not start trading within six months (if a new business).
  • The property is sold within a 12-month period from receipt of the grant.
  • The business/organisation is sold or ceases to trade for whatever reason other than a force majeure event within a 12-month period from receipt of the grant.
  • The business/organisation moves out of the premises for whatever reason other than a force majeure event within a 12-month period from receipt of the grant.
  • Information provided in the application form or other correspondence is found to be substantially incorrect, misleading or incomplete.

Data Sharing

Wychavon District Council will process and hold your personal data in accordance with our Privacy Notice for Regeneration . We will only use the data you have provided for the purposes of processing your application. We may need to share your data with other departments within the council in order to process your application. We may need to share your data with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities– as part of monitoring requirements attached to the distribution of UKSPF money. By clicking submit you consent to the above.