EMPTY shops will be refurbished in a bid to bring them back into use in Ellesmere Port.
Cheshire West and Chester Council will target long-term vacant shops in the old high street of Whitby Road.
The grant scheme aims to bring properties back into use, improve the appearance of the street, increase footfall for the other shops and support the regeneration of the wider area.
Landlords will be asked to rent out their unused retail unit to community interest groups for a two-year period, receiving a peppercorn rent and benefiting from a grant to bring the property back up to modern specifications in return.
Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, said: “Whitby Road has many unused retail outlets and encouraging landlords to claim this grant will not only improve the appearance of one of the main routes into the town but will bring properties back into use.
“This means that, following refurbishment works, the shutters will not go down again waiting for a commercial tenant but will actually open up to welcome a not-for-profit local user.
“Landlords with empty properties may not be able to renovate on their own but with the aid of this grant their facilities will be upgraded, putting them in the market for new tenants.”
The project has been taken on by the newly appointed town centre improvement manager.
Local member Cllr Justin Madders said: “I know the council’s regeneration team has already received one application from a landlord with a property empty for over five years who is looking to work with an organisation to open an art gallery.”
The scheme is available to landlords of long-term vacant shops.
For details, or to request an application form, email the town centre improvement manager via email@example.com.