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People & Communities

The deadline for applications is 1 September 2024

ST NEOTS UPDATE: All funding for the St Neots Town Centre Shop Front Grant Scheme has now been allocated. Please register your interest to: and to be notified if further funding becomes available.

District-wide Shop Front Improvement Grant Scheme  

Following the success of our town centre Shop Front Improvement Grant Scheme which has been running since June 2023, we are pleased to announce an additional one-off district-wide Shop Front Grant scheme which is being offered to non-town centre based independent businesses across Huntingdonshire. The scheme will run alongside the existing town centre scheme. The last date for applications to both schemes is 1 September 2024.

Grants of up to £10,000 are still available to independent businesses in the town centres of Huntingdon, St Ives and Ramsey.  Independent businesses outside of the town centres can apply for grants of up to £5,000 to cover front of building refurbishment costs.

The scheme is funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and is being delivered jointly by Huntingdon BID and Huntingdonshire District Council.

Who can apply?

Town centre grants

Businesses will be eligible to apply for a shop front grant of up to £10,000 if the shop is at ground level and you can answer YES to the following questions:

Wider-district grants

Independent businesses will be eligible to apply for a shop front grant of up to £5,000 if the shop is at ground level and you can answer YES to the following questions:

  • Is the unit within the Huntingdonshire district?

  • Is the unit outside of the town centres of Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots and Ramsey?

  • Will the works have a positive impact on the surrounding area?

  • Is this a new project where work has not already commenced?

What does the grant cover?

External renovations or improvements to the front elevations of buildings, including, but not limited to:

  • repairs

  • repainting

  • signage

  • external lighting

  • repair of external stonework and brickwork

  • repair and reinstatement of guttering and down-pipes

  • window display equipment and lighting

  • professional fees

  • accessibility adaptations to the front of the property.

Grants will be awarded to cover between 50% and 100% of the cost of the works (excluding VAT), with 100% grant awards being offered only in exceptional circumstances, based on the assessment and scoring criteria applied to each application.

Applicants are encouraged to make use of the pre-application advice service offered by HDC's Planning Team to ensure that the need and process for obtaining planning permission/listed building consent is properly understood. Support will be available for any pre-application requests directly linked to the scheme.

The closing date for all applications is 1st September 2024.  Applications received after this time will not be considered.  Grants will be reviewed and awarded on a first come, first served basis.

How do I apply?

Applicants must:

  • complete the online application form 

  • confirm that they:

    • are the freeholder or leaseholder (and/or have written consent from the landlord to carry out the work)

    • have funds available if the total cost of the works exceeds the grant award

    • understand the requirement for planning permission/listed building consent to be sought prior to any works being carried out. 

  • provide three comparable quotes for the work

  • provide recent photos of the property showing its condition.

What happens next?

Completed application forms, supported by the relevant paperwork, will be assessed in September by the Application Review Team.   

Applications will be assessed on the basis of:

  • completion of the application form and supporting information provided

  • project scope

  • proposals which support accessibility improvements

  • consideration of conservation, locality and the contribution to the local area

  • eligibility

  • match funding/applicant financial contribution

  • perceived value of the project.

Once the application has been assessed we will contact you to confirm if your application has been accepted (subject to planning consent).  We will not consider any applications that are incomplete or received after 1 September 2024.

Decisions to reject an application cannot be appealed.

How do I receive the grant?

After a grant has been approved the money will be paid when:

  • evidence of planning/statutory permissions has been provided (including planning permission, listed building consent, building control, advertising consent and licensing)

  • the work has been carried out satisfactorily. Grants are subject to an end of works inspection by a Project Team representative to ensure compliance with planning conditions and the approved grant application. 

  • evidence of the expenditure has been provided (VAT invoices)

  • Non-compliance with any of the above points will result in the grant monies being withheld.

Terms and conditions

To qualify for the town centre scheme, business units must be within the town centre boundary of Huntingdon, St Ives or Ramsey. (please refer to the maps)

To qualify for the wider-district scheme, business units must be within the district boundary of Huntingdonshire, and outside of the town centre boundaries of Huntingdon, St Ives and Ramsey.

Premises should be located on the ground floor and any works must make a positive difference to the surrounding area.

National multiples / brands and franchisees will not be eligible for grant funding.

Applicants must be up to date with Business Rates (NNDR) (and BID Levy payments where applicable) and this will be verified before a decision is made as part of the Application Review process.

Grant applications must be approved before any works take place – retrospective applications or awards will not be supported.

The maximum grant that can be awarded is £10,000 for the town centre scheme and £5,000 for the wider-district scheme, covering between 50% and 100% of the cost of works (excluding VAT).  100% grants will only be awarded in exceptional circumstances. 

The actual grant value awarded is at the discretion of the Review Team and will consider scheme demand, project scope and match funding.

Applications must be made online via the e-form available on the HDC website.

Applications should be supported by written consent from the landlord to carry out the works where the applicant is not the freeholder.

Evidence should be available to support the application, including 3 separate quotes obtained for the works, confirmation of the ability of the applicant to fund works in excess of the grant amount and any match funding.

Grants are awarded subject to the necessary planning permission and consents (including listed building consent, licensing, building regs etc) being obtained and complied with.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain the necessary advice and secure planning permission and other consents for the works. 

  • Renovation works may require planning permission

  • Building and electrical works will require Building Control approval

  • Licensing may be applicable for pavement cafes or similar

  • Advertisement consent (via Planning) will need to be sought for new signage

Successful applicants will be asked to sign a grant agreement which confirms the grant funding terms and conditions which may be applied.

All works must commence within two months of an application being approved and all grant claims must be submitted by 1 March 2025.

Grants operate on a reimbursement basis and are paid on provision of evidence of expenditure.

Grants are subject to an end of works inspection by Project Team representatives to ensure compliance with planning conditions and the initial grant application submission.  Payment will not be made where the works are not found to be compliant with stipulated planning conditions and the initially approved scheme.

Successful applicant details may be published on the HDC / Huntingdon BID website and in communications material such as press releases and social media posts.

Questions and information

The following links may help you plan your application:

If you have any queries or need further information or advice, please email Paul Sweeney, Huntingdon First BID Manager, at

Apply for the Shop Front Grant


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