Grant scheme to spruce up the town

TRADERS within Ramsey s recently extended conservation area are being offered an incentive to spruce up their shop fronts. Huntingdonshire District Council has launched a grant scheme as part of a drive to enhance the look of the town. The council is of

TRADERS within Ramsey's recently extended conservation area are being offered an incentive to spruce up their shop fronts.

Huntingdonshire District Council has launched a grant scheme as part of a drive to enhance the look of the town. The council is offering £30,000 in grants over two years to shopkeepers for the re-painting, repair or replacement of existing shop fronts or signage, as long as proposals will enhance the conservation area.

Gammons, the cycling, fishing and hardware store in the town centre, made a successful application for a grant to repaint the shop front. Stationery shop David Stuart has also made an application to recreate a traditional timber shop front, in keeping with the heritage of the town.

Jonathan Duck, conservation officer, said: "We're hoping this initiative will improve the area as a whole and boost its appeal for tourists and visitors, as well as the residents themselves."

The scheme was launched before Christmas, at the same time as the conservation area was extended beyond the town centre, more than doubling its size.

An advisory group, made up of town councillors, local groups, police representatives and residents has been meeting quarterly to analyse the area and identify where improvements could be made.

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Christopher Surfleet, Urban Design Officer, said: "I'm very optimistic about these first two projects, the grants mean that the owners will only have to pay for 25-50 per cent of the work, so improvements can happen a lot quicker.

"This is all part of our long-term strategy to improve the quality of the town centre, focusing on restoring the heritage, attracting economic development and making Ramsey a more attractive place to live and work in. There's a few more proposals being examined at the moment, I think we're going to see some really positive work being done.

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