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More shops may share city’s spruce-up cash
THE door has been left open for more traders to benefit from a new shop-front improvement scheme.
From next month, shops in St John’s will be able to bid for a share of £30,000 from Worcester City Council to spruce up the outside of their properties, and a leading councillor has suggested the scheme could be rolled out to other areas of the city.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, deputy city council leader and cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: “Depending on how that goes and how much money is available, some money could be made available in other areas of the city.
“The shopfront grant is firstly for St John’s, so we will try to support and revitalise that retail area but we’re looking at a more general shopfront grant.”
The ‘village in the city’ twice missed out on a bid to become one of the Government’s Portas Pilots – the shopping areas chosen for a makeover by retail guru Mary Portas.
Since then the city council has made a further £12,000 available to help publicise St John’s.
On the subject of London Road, Coun Bayliss said: “The city council has power to take action if the frontage of somebody’s house is very overgrown but I don’t think that area would warrant those draconian measures.
“It is a question of pursuing people rather than forcing their hand.
“There are parts of London Road that are beautiful.
“It’s a problem that is probably in pockets. We are happy to work with people to try to improve all parts of the city.”
City councillor Jabba Riaz said: “It’s important that all the main routes into the city have some investment in them.” He said much of the responsibility lay with the property owners, who could be contacted by the council to explore a way forward.
Mr Taylor, who has lived in the area for about 30 years, said: “I would welcome the opportunity for them to roll out the scheme locally providing the local authority approached individuals and explained the system in some detail.
“If they are left to their own devices to apply, one imagines there would be very little uptake.
“The remedy for the area lies in the hands of individual properties and businesses.”
Councillors will make a decision about rolling out the shopfront grant scheme after monitoring its success in St John’s.