200K in grants available to reopen empty shops in Wiltshire

By Nick Batten on 12 January, 2024

Wiltshire Council has made a total of £200,000 available to support small or micro businesses, including new start-ups, wanting to lease or rent a previously vacant commercial property located in around 20 towns throughout the county.

The Vibrant Wiltshire vacant unit grants is open for applications from businesses, including those providing services, and/or creative, cultural and community uses. The scheme aims to increase footfall, create jobs and boost the local economy. 

Areas eligible for the grant include, Amesbury, Bradford on Avon, Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Downton, Ludgershall, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Melksham, Mere, Pewsey, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Tidworth, Tisbury, Trowbridge, Warminster, Westbury and Wilton.

Applications can be made by business owners or directors of registered independent businesses, charities or social enterprises, or a sole traders or self-employed individuals, who are bringing new business to a town centre or relocating a current business within a town centre. A signed lease for the premises is required. 

The deadline to apply for a grant is 15th February, and grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available. 

Malmesbury Mayor and the town’s Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr Gavin Grant, welcomed the new scheme and urged eligible business owners to apply.

He said, “Malmesbury has a strong and diverse high street with great independent traders and fewer empty shops than elsewhere in Wiltshire. But business is tough for retail and all help is welcome. A vibrant town centre brings in visitors and shoppers, which benefits all traders. 

“As a Town Council, we have sought out advice and best practices on what drives up visitor numbers. We will be sharing those findings with our traders and key town centre stakeholders. It’s clear making some areas look better, better signage, more attractive festivals and events, better promotion, communication and collaboration, with good sharing of business insight and information are all vital. 

“This year is a great year to visit Malmesbury to see the Athelstan 1100 celebrations, the repeat of our Malmesbury Folk & Roots Music Festival, our High Street Art Trail and hopefully much more. 

“Making sure our new town centre retailers take advantage of this new scheme is part of this plan.”

For more information, and for an application form, visit: wiltshire.gov.uk/vibrant-wiltshire-grants or email: Vibrant.Wiltshire@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Pictured above: Malmesbury Mayor Cllr Gavin Grant at the launch of last summer’s High Street Art trail