Shopfront Scheme Hopes to Attract Visitors to Academy Street

Archive picture of Academy Street courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery/Am Baile.

The Inverness Townscape Heritage Project (ITHP) has increased funding for Academy Street businesses to improve and restore shopfronts. Grants are now available for up to 90% of eligible costs of improving the appearance of shopfronts and signage.

With the aim of making Academy Street a more attractive place to live, work and visit, owners and tenants of all traditional shopfronts on the street are encouraged to apply for the grant, which will help to restore original designs or create new, sympathetic shopfronts.

Shopfront improvement schemes elsewhere in the UK have been successful in returning a sense of quality to an area, and subsequently increasing economic activity.

The funding will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

The maximum grant awarded will then be determined by the priority category assigned to the property and the nature of the works.

Cllr Jimmy Gray, Chairman of Inverness Townscape Heritage Project, said:

“Academy Street is one of the most historic streets in Inverness and this funding boost gives an opportunity for its businesses to restore the buildings and celebrate their history and unique character.

“I’d encourage tenants and building occupiers to take advantage of this support while it is available and find inspiration from some of our fantastic local sign writers.

“Doing so can only add to the attractiveness of the businesses, the street and Inverness as a whole.”

As part of its Shop Local campaign, Inverness BID has highlighted the importance of supporting local businesses. Inverness BID manager Mike Smith said:

“Now even more so than ever, it is important that we support our city centre businesses.

“I’m delighted to see the Inverness Townscape Heritage Project Shopfront Scheme boosted to help Academy Street building owners and tenants receive up to 90% of funding to improve the look of their buildings.

“Whether it is restoring the traditional signage of your business or creating a shopfront that reflects the history and heritage of the building, I hope this scheme will create a warm welcome for customers visiting Academy Street businesses.”

Those interested in applying for the grant should fill out an application form at www.academystreet.org/grants.

Further information on the ITHP Shopfront Scheme can be found here.

A comprehensive Shopfront Design Guide has also been produced by The Highland Council and is available to view here.