A NEW scheme to revamp old shopfronts in Dumfries town centre is to be extended to other businesses.
The Dumfries Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which was launched by Dumfries and Galloway Council year ago, provides a small grants scheme where businesses can apply for funding.
Members of the economy and resources committee this week approved plans to expand the scheme into Friars Vennel and bottom half of Bank Street.
Business owners will be able to apply for cash to restore and repair traditional shopfronts with new windows and doors, while modern shopfronts can be given a makeover with traditionally-styled units.
This follows on from similar projects already underway at 8 English Street, 11-17 English Street, and 107-109 High Street.
Nith Councillor Malcolm Johnstone praised the grants scheme, saying: “I’d just like to say that I very much welcome that. Both those streets, at the moment, seem to be thriving.”
Lochar Councillor Ivor Hyslop said: “Extending the project down to the bottom of Vennel and Bank Street is a great idea.
“These are traditional shopping areas, so the small grants scheme would be applicable down there.
“However, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about it.”
Shona McCoy, the council’s local development plan team leader, said: “When we were successful in securing the award for Dumfries, we were in the middle of the pandemic. So, it wasn’t really possible to do much of a launch.
“We are intending to do quite an extensive launch this time.”
North West Dumfries Councillor Andy Ferguson asked: “What about the front at Whitesands where we’ve got premises and shopfronts that are just as old?
“They would probably benefit from being included in this grants scheme. Is there a reason why we haven’t included that area?”
Ross McCleary, Dumfries CARS officer, responded: “There has to be a boundary somewhere. We don’t have a huge budget for this scheme.”
He added: “The idea is that we’re going to concentrate the small grants budget in the Vennel and Bank Street.”