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9 March 2010, 05:00
More money is going towards sprucing up empty shops in Luton - to attract new retailers to the area.
A grant of £52,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government is going towards bringing back empty shops in George Street and High Town Road into good use.
First of all the scheme will involve working with landlords and their agents to renovate some shop fronts that currently are empty, especially those that have been vacant for some time.
Then the scheme will look at how they can attract new retailers to the area.
Luton Borough Council is looking to support selected new businesses in trying out a currently-empty shop for a period of time.
It also hopes to work with local artists to brighten up shop fronts, offering them the chance to display their talents, and will also be looking at options to smarten the frontages of buildings such as the former cinema in George Street.
Councillor Roy Davis is the Executive Member for Regeneration and has been telling Heart:
"We anticipate this will be a six-month project and it forms an important part of the strategy to re-invest in Luton's high streets in the wake of a challenging trading period.
"We are particularly keen to hear from landlords interested in joining the scheme, and also from anyone with a unique niche or boutique retail idea.
"Empty shops unfortunately contribute to lower customer footfall, and can cause a knock-on effect of reducing business for existing retailers in our high streets, and this scheme reflects Luton Borough Council's commitment to an important sector of its commercial offering."