Businesses in South Wigston have welcomed the chance to get help to revamp their shop-fronts. Up to £2,000 will be available to each business in the main shopping area, although they will have to spend at least an equal amount from their own pockets.
Graham Bishop of South Wigston Cycle Centre is among those keen to take the council up on its offer. He said: “Anything that’s going to improve the look of the area has got to be good. You’ve seen the front of our shop, so yeah – we’re in.”
He said he hoped to use the money to pay to improve the window frames and gutters, and also get some new signage for the front of his bike store. He said: “The area has already improved quite a bit and I think South Wigston is doing better than Wigston Magna down the road, in terms of occupied shops.
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“A lot of local people use the shops and people travel to come to shops like mine. I think making it more attractive would get even more people coming here, which would be good for everyone.”
Hamza Haq, at the recently-opened Master Discount Stores nearby, said he probably wouldn’t take advantage of the money himself but that the improvements would be good for everyone. He said: “I’ve only been here a few weeks and our shop is okay.
“But the more money the council spends on the area the better. Not all the shops, but some of them, could do with it.
“It’s a very nice area when the sun’s shining and lots of people are out. All the shops will benefit from businesses looking better on the outside.”
Gwen Cooper, 87, who was out at the shops on Saturday morning, said: “I do think it could do with a bit of improvement around here because it is a nice place to shop. It’s just that some of the places around here are looking a bit dowdy.”
Oadby and Wigston Borough Council’s Shop Front Improvement Fund was first launched in 2019 and helped a number of businesses to make improvements to and smarten up, with new windows, better signage and, in some cases, just a lick of paint. By re-launching the scheme, the council is hoping more businesses will come forward to further enhance the look and feel of the area.
The money for the scheme comes through Section 106 contributions paid by businesses behind recent local developments, which means the scheme is restricted to businesses in the centre of South Wigston. Interested business owners should visit www.oadby-wigston.gov.uk/shopfronts. The fund will remain open until further notice.
John Boyce, leader of Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, said: “Shop fronts are important in attracting in shoppers, but also in improving the look and feel of our towns. We are fortunate to have secured this funding through developer contributions and we want to see the maximum benefit for businesses in South Wigston.
“We are keen to ensure that none of the funds go back to the developer and therefore encourage eligible businesses to come forward.”