SHOPFRONTS in Crediton are to be spruced up, thanks to a new pot of money.

A “shopfront enhancement scheme” from Mid Devon District Council offers grants of 50 per cent of estimated costs, up to £2,500, to upgrade, repair and refurbish shopfronts in the town centre.

Expected to run for three years, the first year will be funded by £15,000 from the council’s earmarked reserves. Years two and three are subject to approval but have been included in a separate “Shared Prosperity Fund” investment plan.

It comes after MDDC recently approved a similar three-year scheme to improve shopfronts in Tiverton.

Another is also currently running in Cullompton under the Heritage Action Zone programme.

A report to the council’s ruling cabinet on Tuesday, November 29 said: “It is recognised that the visual attractiveness of a town centre is an important element in consumers’ choices about where to shop and spend leisure time.

“The state of repair and decorative condition of shopfronts is an important element of this visual impact and therefore a major contributor to a town’s vitality and economic success.”

The report added how the scheme will also allow applications from upper-floor and basement businesses to also improve their signage and visibility from the front of the building.

“Therefore instead of just ‘shopfronts’, the scheme will now support enhancement work for anything that faces the street as long as it has a street-level repair need and relates to the commercial usage of the building,” it explained.

An open-application process will have no set deadlines, meaning applications will be determined on their own merit on a first-come, first-served basis.

Three local councillors, yet to be chosen, will form part of a decision panel to award the funding.

Councillor Richard Chesterton (Conservative, Lower Culm), cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration, said: “This will provide all our three market towns in the district with a shopfront enhancement scheme available to businesses within our high streets.”

Members of the cabinet approved the enhancement programme, which will launch in December.