The closing date is fast approaching to win a valuable prize of free rent on two freshly refurbished shops in Portland Road, South Norwood.
The successful winners of the council-funded competition will get up to six months free use of the 32 and 40sqm units just a couple of minutes’ walk from the busy Norwood Junction station.
Shorter-term projects will also be considered, and the aim is to see the shops used for the next twelve months, so more than two applications may be chosen.
Judges are looking for imaginative ideas for new or expanding enterprises which could take advantage of the expected growth in trade around South Norwood’s increasingly vibrant High Street.
Alongside the rent-free offer, the council will also provide dedicated business support and help with publicity and marketing to get the new ventures off the ground. Some businesses or community organisations could also qualify for small business rates relief.
The initiative is part of a wider package of council-led regeneration measures which is seeing £1.65million invested in improved public spaces, cultural activities and events, and business support.
“We’re looking for people with vision, ambition and creativity who we can help and support to breathe life back into these empty shops. Our high streets and district centres are really important, so it’s vital we do everything we can to keep them lively, vibrant and commercially viable.”
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs
The project is a key part of the council’s wider investment plans to reinvigorate shops and businesses around the area.
Hannah Pemberton, whose business ‘The Kitchen Alchemist’ provides specialist recipe development and food photography, is based in the area and said: “I don’t just live and work in South Norwood, I’m passionate about how the area can improve. I’ve been helping lobby for even better transport connections, and I’m delighted that the council is now investing to boost business opportunities in the area.”
Details of how to apply are available at http://www.croydon.gov.uk/portland-road.
The deadline for proposals to be sent in is Friday 19 August, 2016.
Applicants must be available to set up in the unit from October 2016 and have their operation up and running no later than 31 October 2016, subject to fit-out timetable and any change of use if required. To be considered any business idea must be self-sustainable for the length of the initial lease and require no additional investment from the council.
A decision on the successful applications will be announced at the start of September.