Funding scheme to boost new and existing businesses

Ref: PR 8288
Date: 19/07/2016

Wakefield Council is proposing to provide £315k of funding to attract investment into its city and town centres.

A report to the Council's Cabinet, is seeking approval for £315k of the New Homes Bonus funding to be made available for a grants scheme. The retail scheme would support small to medium size businesses and new start-ups.

The £315k funding will be used to support a range of incentives to establish and support businesses to promote the attractiveness of Wakefield city centre and Pontefract and Castleford town centres.

Vacancy rates in shops in Wakefield, Castleford and Pontefract are above the national average. The scheme will aim to reduce the number of empty shops, attract investment and encourage more people into the areas.

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills, said: "We want our city and town centres to be attractive places to work and shop.

"By making the funding available we hope to attract new businesses, reduce the number of empty shops and offices, create more jobs and encourage more visitors into the district.

"The scheme will complement the other regeneration activities we have taking place in Castleford, Pontefract and Wakefield."

The scheme will support a minimum of 54 businesses. Existing business will be able to apply to use it to expand, renovate existing premises or relocate. It will also offer support to new businesses to help them become established.

The £315k funding for the scheme would come from the existing New Homes Bonus funding, which is provided by central government.

If approved, the scheme would start in October and run for up to two years.

The report is being discussed by the Council's Cabinet next Tuesday, 26 July.