Town facelift in the offing as funds are released

Lerwick’s historic town centre will shortly enjoy a facelift thanks to Scottish government funding. Shops and businesses in Lerwick’s Com­mercial Street and lanes conservation area are in line to receive up 80 per cent grant funding towards im­provements to their frontages, which will spruce up the area in time for the summer’s Hamefarin.

The cash, from the Town Centre Regeneration Fund, is being offered to eligible shops and businesses through the SIC planning service’s commercial improvement scheme, designed to encourage premises to undertake work to improve the quality and image of the historic town centre.

The scheme requires commercial premises to consider the works they would like to undertake, acquire two estimates and submit an application form to the plan­ning department for consider­ation.

There are tight time stipulations involved in this process and bus­inesses are being encouraged to consider the scheme and apply as a matter of some urgency.

There are two schemes, the first being the “Maintenance and Paint Scheme” which is designed to assist with the costs of carrying out regular maintenance to trad­itional or older buildings. Examples of works eligible for grant assistance are:

• Sanding and painting of traditional timber windows and doors;
• Unblocking, realigning and repainting of traditional cast iron or aluminium rainwater goods;
• Replacing slipped or broken roof slates and ridge tiles;
• Maintenance of walls, piers and flagged areas;
• Repainting of traditional com­mercial signage;
• Repainting of shop fronts.

In addition the conservation grant “top-up” scheme increases the rate of conservation grant available to commercial applicants to up to 80 per cent of eligible costs, 20 per cent more than the usual rate of 60 per cent.

Eligible works for this grant include those necessary to conserve the fabric or character of historic and older buildings, using traditional materials and methods. Projects can include slate roofing, metal rain­water goods, sash and case windows, painted signboards and repairs to traditional shop fronts.

Lerwick Town Centre Association has provided full details of the scheme to all businesses in the town centre area through the association newsletter this week. The scheme will operate on a first come first served basis and it is hoped that all businesses will consider the op­portunity.

The commercial improvement scheme forms part of an overall town centre improvement scheme stemming from the Scottish govern­ment Town Centre Regeneration Fund award late last year. Other projects include improvements to the lanes, lighting improvements, street furniture and the inclusion of improved facilities for the boating club within the port authority’s overall small boat harbour re­design.

Lerwick Town Centre Association would like to thank SIC for submitting the application and also Lerwick Community Council, Ler­wick Port Authority, Lerwick Old Town Development Association (LOTDA) and Lerwick Boating Club for their support with the application.

• For further information contact: Claire Linton, planning service, department of infrastructure ser­vices, Grantfield, Lerwick.


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