Fife Council has unveiled a new £50,000 pot of funding to help businesses in Kirkcaldy town centre.
It is aimed at companies looking to upgrade or refresh their shop fronts.
The Shop Front Investment Fund is open to small to medium town centre businesses, and the package will also include upfront planning guidance with specialist help on hand for listed buildings and those within conservation areas.
It has a generous intervention rate of 80 per cent capped at £3000 with potentially a £4000 contribution if the business is located within a listed building or within a conservation area.
The initiative is one of several to be unveiled over the coming weeks to help breathe new life into the High Street and surrounding area which has been badly hit by closures, and the loss of a slew of big retail names.
Councillor Neil Crooks, convener of Kirkcaldy area committee, welcomed the development, adding: “We’re listening to what people are telling us.
“Based on initial feedback from the place-standard online survey and from businesses themselves, this new fund is part of a range of things we are introducing to help support Kirkcaldy town centre.”
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The fund follows on from a £1.6m allocation to Kirkcaldy from the Scottish Government’s £4.3m pot which will allow some shovel-ready projects to get started in the coming months.
These include tackling the crumbling stairs leading to the Kirkcaldy Centre – formerly known as The Postings – while councillors have committed £350,000 placing four shipping containers on the waterfront too open up business opportunities such as new cafes and spaces for creative artists.
They also earmarked £400,000 to buying up dilapidated buildings with a view to bringing new investment to the High Street – and a further £400,000 taking ownership of key buildings to enable town centre living and non-retail commercial development.
Added Cllr Crooks: ““There’s real drive from businesses, third sector organisations and Fife Council to work together on our common goal of helping Kirkcaldy town centre continue to develop into the attractive and thriving place we all want it be.
“There will be more announcements in the coming weeks about some of the other things we’ll be doing to support the town centre in these challenging times but, in the meantime, I’d encourage business owners to check their non-domestic rateable values to see if they are eligible for any rates reliefs
“For example, based on rateable values of individual properties 2018/19 in Kirkcaldy town centre, 66 per cent of properties could qualify for 100 per cent small business rates relief – that’s means six out of 10 properties could potentially pay no business rates
“And six per cent of properties could qualify for 25 per cent rates relief and the larger units, and 28 per cent of properties, whilst not eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme relief, could qualify for other reliefs, so it is worth while checking”
To find out more about the Shopfront Investment Fund please email email@example.com or speak to Kirkcaldy4All based in the High Street