Grant scheme launched to help businesses in Church Street and Church Square in Hartlepool
A small heritage grant scheme is to be launched to offer support to business owners in Church Street and help them improve their properties.
Hartlepool Borough Council Neighbourhood Services Committee approved the grant scheme, which will be on offer to support businesses or property owners across Church Street and Church Square.
It will be available to help make properties structurally sound, watertight and repair and restore traditional features, improving their appearance.
The funding comes from an underspend the council recorded from its compensation grant scheme for businesses affected by the public realm works in Church Street and Church Square.
The scheme was complete with a budget underspend of £81,000, allowing £60,000 to be used to fund emergency works to 16 Church Street, formerly Shades, with the remaining £21,000 to be used for the small grants scheme.
The grant scheme will be offered at 75% of the costs of the works and the maximum grant will be capped at £7,000.
Councillors praised the benefits the grant could have for residents in the town, while also raising awareness of the importance of the conservation of the town’s history.
Coun Marjorie James said: “If we’re providing a grant regime which has the intention of improving buildings, encouraging business etc, then that has to be done on the back of improving the economy for local people.
“Therefore it has a positive impact on child and family poverty because hopefully it will create jobs or secure jobs that already exist.”
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “We need to be having some serious discussions around how we invest in conservation, it’s very difficult for residents living in these areas to often afford the standard, but equally we’re losing our history.”
Council bosses said the new scheme is to complement an existing Townscape Heritage Scheme launched.
National Lottery Heritage Fund opened that grant scheme last year focusing on the lower end of Church Street between Whitby Street and Mainsforth Terrace.
Architectural details grants were available at a 90% grant rate up to £10,000 while a building grant was available at a 75% grant rate up to £20,000.
However the new scheme is open to all properties in Church Street and Church Square, although properties who have also applied for the Townscape Heritage Scheme grants would not be eligible.
Denise McGuckin, council director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “It will be open to all of Church Street and Church Square, for businesses to bring their premises up to a structurally better position and also make them more aesthetically complementing.”