click for the homepage
mobile menu button

Contact Us

apply hd

Apply

report hd

Report

pay hd

Pay

Mid Suffolk Shop Front Grant Scheme FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance

Introduction

Mid Suffolk District Council is offering grants to encourage independent businesses to improve the look of their shop front or to improve accessibility into the shop. Businesses must match-fund the grant sum at 25% - 50% dependent on the improvement works. The proliferation of works – particularly in the town centres – will greatly improve the overall attractiveness of the District for residents and visitors alike. 

What is the aim of the scheme?

The aim of the grant scheme is to assist business owners to improve the quality and accessibility of their buildings and to improve the overall user experience, particularly in our town centres of Eye, Needham Market and Stowmarket.

What is the maximum grant available?

    Accessibility

  • anywhere in Mid-Suffolk District: 100% grant for improvements up to a maximum of £1000, then the next £4000 at 50

    Guttering and downpipe repair (not drains)

  • anywhere in Mid Suffolk 50% up to a maximum of £5,000

    Shop front grants

  • Within the defined Stowmarket, Needham Market and Eye town centres (see maps at the end of this document):

    • 100% grant for making good and repainting up to a maximum of £1000,

    • 75% grant up to a maximum of £15,000 for other improvements.

    • 50% grant up to a maximum of £5,000 in respect of frontage cosmetic repairs/replacement such as Soffit and fascia boards, render.

  • Outside of Stowmarket, Needham Market and Eye town centres:

    • 100% grant for making good and repainting up to a maximum of £1000,

    • 75% grant up to a maximum of £5,000 for improvements, not repairs

At the sole discretion of Mid Suffolk District Council, some applicants may be eligible for additional funding in exceptional circumstances, such as where the Council has identified a specific case for interventions in specific properties, or where the Council considers the building makes a special contribution to the overall townscape (such as through design, location, condition etc.)

Where can this money be spent?

The grant is only available for improvements to shop fronts and accessibility enhancements in Mid-Suffolk District.

Can I apply if I already have funding from another scheme?

Yes, you can still apply and we will take into consideration the amount and type of funding that you have previously received.

What does the Shop Front Scheme fund?

Grants can cover materials and labour for works to improve the look of the shop front or to make access easier, such as: new shop fronts, external lighting schemes, cladding, signage for shop fronts, and new awnings, nosing on steps, widening of doorways, ramps for doorways or removal of steps, hand rails, portable ramps, power assisted doors, disabled access signs, door bells and training staff to assist disabled customers. We may also consider applications for other works. Grants can also be used toward professional fees required in delivering the physical works.

Are repairs covered by the grant?

Maintenance repairs are not covered under the grant scheme.  However, minor repairs to “make good” before painting or implementing other works can be covered. Guttering and drainpipe repairs and replacement are eligible throughout the district and within the defined town centres there is support for minor repairs.

Is my business eligible to apply?

We are looking to improve shop fronts and access to shops only (Use classes A1-A5), but we may consider applications from other commercial operators.  Officers will be pleased to visit your premises and talk to you about the grant scheme to see whether an application could be made.

How do I apply?

A member of the Economic Development team will come out to you to discuss your proposal. Please contact us, details are at the bottom of the guidance notes.

Do I need to apply for the Shop Front Improvement and Accessibility grant funds separately?

No, you only need to apply once.

What information will I need to submit to be eligible for the grant?

The application form requires you to submit a schedule of proposed works that you plan to carry out, together with 3 like-for-like quotes to undertake the works.  It should also show how the change to your property will make a significant contribution to the street scene, creating a more welcoming and vibrant atmosphere. You should also include current photographs of your property, plus any plans or diagrams to show the proposed works.

What should I do if I can’t get three quotes for the proposed works?

Occasionally it can be difficult to find contractors to undertake some works – such as for specialist heritage skills.  In rare instances such as these, the Council may still consider applications.

Am I still eligible if I don’t own the property?

Yes, if you are the tenant your landlord must also sign the declaration on the application form to state that they give consent for the works to be completed.

Will planning permission and listed building consent be needed?

Depending on the building and the proposed works, Planning permission, Listed Building Consent or other permissions/licenses might be needed.  A grant offer does not remove the need for these permissions, nor does it affect the Council’s decision in determining such applications.  We can discuss this when we visit and talk to you before you apply. 

The Council normally charges a fee for “Pre-application planning advice”, however requests for planning advice under the Shop Front Grant scheme will not attract a fee.

Will work that I have already started be included in the grant scheme?

No, any work undertaken before the written offer of grant aid is made and accepted in writing is not eligible.

How long will it take to make a decision on my application?

We will usually make a decision on your application within 4 weeks of receiving a fully completed application. If your project requires planning permission or other consents, any offer will be conditional on you obtaining those consents.

Who will decide whether my application is approved?

Officers from the Economic Development team will assess eligibility and suitability of the applications, and a final decision is at the discretion of Mid Suffolk District Council. You will be informed of the decision and any grant offer/terms in writing. If your application is rejected, then here will be no right of appeal and no further correspondence will be entered in to.

What are the conditions of the grant?

Grants are offered subject to obtaining all the necessary consents and permissions. Work must be started within 6 months of receiving the grant offer and it is expected that it should be completed within 12 months.

Applicants are required to take part in publicity and monitoring.

Full terms and conditions will be provided and explained when we come out to talk to you about a potential application.

Can I decide who I want to carry out the work?

A minimum of 3 like-for-like quotes from different contractors must be provided with your application.  The grant amount offered will be based on the lowest quote, but you are free to select any contractor and fund the difference yourself. We encourage the use of local businesses.

When will the grant be paid?

Grants will be paid on production of receipted invoices from contractors showing a detailed breakdown of works. It may be possible to make staged payments if the work is ongoing.

How many times can I apply for the grant?

A business can apply multiple times for smaller amounts, but up to the maximum amount overall (£15,000/premises in Eye, Needham Market and Stowmarket town centres, and £5,000/premises everywhere else). 

Who do I contact for advice and more information regarding the scheme?

For an informal discussion or to make an appointment for us to visit you, write to or call the Economic Development team: 

Telephone: 0300 123 4000 (selecting option 7 and ask to speak to the Economic Development Team)

Email: Economic Development Team

Details of our contact address can be found on our Contact us page

Map of Eye Town Centre:

(Yellow area indicates defined town centre) 

Local Plan Map of Eye 

Map of Needham Market Town Centre:

(Yellow area indicates defined town centre)

Local Plan Map of Needham Market 

Map of Stowmarket Town Centre:

(Yellow area indicates defined town centre)

Local Plan Map of Stowmarket

 

Additional Information

Shop Front Grant Leaflet