A fund will provide support to independent shops on the High Street and Saltmarket, one of the oldest and of the most historically significant thoroughfares in Glasgow, as part of a strategy to regenerate the area. The appearance and shop fronts and the buildings in which they reside has a considerable impact and influence on an area's character.
This fund - the Independent Retail Fund (IRF) - is a shop front improvement grant available to tenants and owners of occupied shops on Saltmarket and the High Street.
Glasgow City Council will work with City Property Glasgow Investments and other commercial property owners to provide 100% funds to shops - £5,000 for double units and £3,000 for single units - to enable them to undertake necessary external enhancements / redecoration and other improvements such as removing / upgrading signage, replacing damaged tiles and feature lighting for signage or window displays.
An officer from Glasgow City Council will visit eligible properties to discuss the fund and provide assistance with applications if required. It is hoped that these improvements will enhance the appeal of the area to visitors, customers and local residents and contribute towards business and consumer confidence.
This project is part of the wider High Street Area Strategy, a five-year plan to redevelop this historic quarter and support small businesses and the local economy.
One of the recipients of the Independent Retail Fund is Bonjour, a new inclusive bar / creative community hub, based at 37 Saltmarket.
Councillor Angus Millar, Depute City Convener for Economic Growth at Glasgow City Council and Chair of the High Street Reference Group, said: "The Independent Retail Fund is an important part of our strategy to regenerate the High Street area in Glasgow. This particular type of support can be crucial in attracting and keeping independent shops in the area, boosting the local economy and ensuring it develops into a vibrant quarter of Glasgow that is a great location to live and work in, as well as visit. We will work with any eligible local retailer who is interested in using this fund to improve their business."
Andrew Sim, Co-Director, Bonjour Ltd, said: "The High Street / Saltmarket area of Glasgow is changing rapidly, due to years of hard work and investment from the local community and the council. The shopfront improvement grant from the Independent Retail Fund will help us open a community focused LGBTQ+ venue in this historic part of the city."
The High Street Area Strategy (HSAS) will breathe new life into the historic heart of the city around the High Street and Saltmarket through the promotion of the area's rich history and built heritage, greater support for its small businesses and the local economy, and enhanced public realm.
The area is home to around 6,000 people and features a host of attractions such as the Barras, Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Green, the Necropolis, Provand's Lordship, the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, the Tollbooth Steeple, and key locations on the Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail, as well as independent shops and traders, artists' studios, bars, restaurants, the Glasgow City Innovation District and the Tontine centre of innovation.
The strategy will be overseen by a cross-party body, the High Street Reference Group, comprising all the councillors representing the wards covering the area.
Other action plans through the HSAS include: working with partner agencies to promote the preservation of built heritage; establishing a Heritage Trail to link the area's visitor attractions and highlight historical points of interest; introducing a new "Meanwhile Space" initiative to bring vacant shop units into positive use; and exploring more opportunities for quality public space and active travel.