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This guidance has been designed to assist business owners in specific locations within East Ayrshire who are interested in improving their shop frontage to make an application for funding.

Please read this guidance note and frequently asked questions in full before completing an application.

Funding available

Applications are invited from eligible businesses from East Ayrshire looking to make repairs or to enhance their shop front.

There is no guarantee that all applicants will be successful in securing funding, but it is hoped that the funding will widely support businesses as many businesses as possible.

Applications cannot be made retrospectively. You are therefore urged to apply as quickly as possible if you have been considering making improvements to your property. If you are registered for VAT and can therefore recover VAT, the funding award will be paid exclusive of VAT.

Deadline for applications

Applications will be accepted until 5pm on Tuesday 31 January 2023.

Contracts must be in place by 31 March 2023.

This is a discretionary fund for which there is no right of appeal.

You can apply if:

  • you wish to make eligible improvements to the physical appearance of your shop front, ie the outside of your business premises
  • a full list of eligible elements is contained within the guidance note at pages three to five

Funding application process

The funding application process is listed below:

  • read and download forms
  • draft a specification for the works and secure quotations
  • provide as much detail as possible on the improvements that you wish to make - this will be evaluated by planning and will help them to advise you if consents are required
  • submit your fully completed application via the online shop front application survey
  • your application will be assessed for eligibility, and a decision on your application made
  • you will be notified of the decision, and assuming you are successful an ‘Offer of Funding’ will be made
  • you must secure all relevant statutory permissions - once you have these and provided reference number to the anchor organisation you will be sent a formal 'Permission to Start’ letter
  • on completion of the works, claim your funding (funding eligible works must be complete by end of summer 2023)
  • provide images showing the shop front before work starting, the works in progress and the end result

What you can and can't apply for

A full list of what you can apply for is provided on pages three to five.

You are unable to apply for the following:

  • funding for work already/being completed
  • the amenity area/area of ground in front of your business unit
  • any ancillary or removable items, such as planting, benches, trellises and hanging baskets
  • painting of stonework, where paint has never before been applied
  • any area above ground floor, and therefore not considered to be your shop front
  • non-traditional canopies
  • Illumination
  • plastic windows, plastic doors, plastic signs, and plastic cladding - this applies to the conservation area
  • any non-physical shop front elements, such as photography or web/digital elements
  • any signage not attached to the building, such as ‘A’ boards
  • any security related items, such as roller shutters, alarms etc
  • VAT (where the applicant is VAT registered, and VAT is therefore recoverable)
  • insurance
  • temporary signage

Please use the following guidance and our  frequently asked questions to assist with the completion of the application form.

Questions 2 to 7: About you and your business

Information about you and your business:

  • provide your business/trading name
  • we will liaise directly with the main contact, as provided
  • provide the address of the property which you would like to improve

Question 8: Owner information

Tick to confirm:

  • whether you are the owner, or the tenant of the premises
  • you have ownership consent to make alterations to the property from the landlord/owner and have a lease agreement in place

Questions 9 to 15: Your application proposals

We want to understand what your shop front will look like when the works have finished.

Specify details of the proposed improvements and the finishes, for example:

  • staining/colours - with the British Standard Colour Chart number referenced - heritage colours should be used for buildings within conservation areas
  • drawings - showing the dimensions
  • signage proof
  • explain how the appearance of your business premises will be improved for potential customers

Without the detail and finishes specified, your application cannot be determined. Where statutory consents are required, it will be sufficient to provide the reference number for these, instead of enclosing the drawings with your application.

Provide as much detail as possible on the improvements that you wish to make, this will be evaluated by planning and will help them to advise you if consents are required.

Remember to make use of the frequently asked questions.

Photographs describing the current condition of the property must also be provided. Please note that we may then use these, alongside ‘after’ images on our website, and to generally help publicise and promote the scheme.

What you can apply for

General repairs

Small-scale repairs can include the following:

  • joinery repairs to fascias, stall risers and to windows and doors – excluding the use of UPVC within conservation areas.
  • glazing repairs to windows, doors and transom or fan lights
  • tiling repairs to doorstep and recessed doorways
  • ironwork
  • masonry repairs - where this area abuts the shop front
  • cladding repairs - where this area abuts the shop front
  • leadwork, coping and guttering repairs - where these abut the shop front

Repair/restoration of traditional architectural elements

Traditional architectural repairs can include the following:

  • joinery - repairs to decorative features such as mullions, consoles, pilasters and to windows and doors.
  • masonry - repairs/restoration to decorative traditional aspects
  • canopies - repairs to traditional blinds and awnings
  • decorative ironwork 


Painting is funding eligible - if within a conservation area please use heritage colours:

  • painting of timber - in a heritage type colour within conservation areas
  • painting of masonry in a breathable paint - in a heritage colour within conservation areas
  • please note that the painting of stonework, where paint has never before been applied will not be an eligible cost - where stonework has traditionally been painted however, a breathable paint would be eligible - in a heritage colour within conservation areas
  • paint removal is also an eligible cost, provided this is undertaken in a sensitive manner and a methodology statement is supplied to detail the approach

Please note we strongly recommend you buy and test a paint colour sample prior to purchasing the paint.


Signage can include the following:

  • repairs to existing sign boards – fascia signs and hanging signs
  • replacement of plastic fascias with timber - please note that all timber should be sustainably sourced from managed forests
  • sign writing, either painted or cast vinyl raised letters - of a traditional style only


Replacement includes:

  • replacement of modern shop fronts with a traditional shop front of classical proportions - please note that all timber should be sustainably sourced from managed forests and surviving traditional fabric should be restored wherever possible
  • replacement awnings and canopies - with the exception of Dutch canopies
  • new steel beams - where these abut the shop front
  • glazing - replacement shatterproof glass is encouraged, unless the glass is historic and part of the traditional shop front character

New additions

Additions include:

  • provision for enhanced disabled access
  • new timber hanging signs and brackets
  • new traditional style awnings and canopies - with the exception of Dutch canopies

Professional fees

Professionals fees are eligible if directly linked to funding eligible works as follows:

  • architect, surveyor, structural engineer and agent fees
  • statutory consent fees, ie for planning permission, advertisement consent, listed building consent and building warrant fees - please note that fees are only funding eligible where these are linked to works, ie fees are not an eligible cost in isolation

Contingency and VAT

VAT will only be a funding eligible cost in cases where the applicant is not VAT registered.

Further information regarding shop fronts can be found at  Historic Environment Scotland: Scottish Traditional Shop fronts.

Questions 16 to 27: Governance and finance

You are asked to be specific in your funding request and to list all items for which you require funding. This is the allocation you are requesting from the Shop Front Improvement Scheme. 

Costs and quotations

You are required to identify the cost against each item, which must be based on quotations received.

Quotes for works, labour and professional fees should be based on a clear and single specification distributed to all contractors asked to quote. Both the specification, and written quotes received, are required in support of your application as follows:

  • two quotes are required for works up to £999
  • three quotes are required for works with a value of £1,000 and over

We would encourage local traders to be used if possible, as this supports the Love Local campaign which is part of Community Wealth Building (CWB). This will be part of the scoring criteria used by the Community Anchor Group.

We would advise using the  East Ayrshire Trusted Traders Scheme.


Copies of original tenders should be on contractor’s headed notepaper.

If you are not using the lowest quote please explain why.

If you have the relevant skills to undertake works of repair to your own property, you can apply for funding award towards the cost of the goods required. A receipted invoice would be required to evidence any such purchase(s).

You will be expected to show how you have chosen where to purchase the item(s), and for larger purchases of £1,000 and over you will be expected to provide three quotes/links to websites to show best value.

Please tell us if you are VAT registered. Funding is only paid on VAT in cases where the business is not VAT registered and therefore unable to recover VAT.

Statutory consents

It is the responsibility of the applicant to apply for any statutory consents that are required, and to secure these prior to works.

Planning will provide information on consents required based on the information that applicants include in their application. Please note that a Permission to Start Letter will not be issued by the Community Anchor Group without a reference to show consents have been approved.

Consents required:

  • planning permission is usually required for any alteration that materially affects the external appearance of a building, including canopies/awnings, and painting within conservation areas
  • listed building consent may also be required for shop fronts as part of listed buildings
  • many proposed signs require advertisement consent - for signage please refer to Planning SG Shop Front Design Guidance (PDF 3.54Mb)
  • a building warrant may also be required, depending on the level of intervention
  • evidence of pre-application communication (emails) statutory consents - ie in relation to planning consent/advert consent/ listed building consent/building warrant -  please provide the relevant reference numbers if applicable

It is not necessary to have secured consent before making an application for funding, but you will have to show in writing that you have had communication on your proposal with the relevant department.

Tick if you have proof of any statutory consents if applicable.

For shop front design principles, please refer to the Planning SG Shop Front Design Guidance linked above.

Contact details

Contact details for the Development Management Team are:

Contact details for Building Standards are:

Question 28

Please tick to declare that you have read and understood the criteria of the funding for which you are applying.

The following documents must be enclosed for your application to progress to assessment stage:

  • if you have made an application for planning permission or listed building consent, please submit drawings and specification of the work -  please note the planning reference number in response to question 19
  • quotations for either two or three competitive tenders - depending on the value of works
  • photograph of the current business frontage/façade (jpeg format)
  • bank details
  • VAT status


Contact Information


Community Led Regeneration Team
Council Headquarters
London Road
Telephone: 01563 576075