Entrepreneurs are being invited to transform vacant retail units into viable businesses in an innovative new ‘Shops for a Pound’ initiative launched by Liverpool City Council.
The scheme – a variation on the city’s hugely popular Homes for a Pound project – will see 12 empty units on Smithdown Road and Earle Road in Picton made available at a cost of £1 per week for up to three years.
Successful applicants will have to carry out repairs and refurbishment themselves and must have finance in place. They will have to operate their business from the refitted unit. Commercial rates will apply after the three year period has expired.
Each proposal must be for a new, commercial business and cannot compete with an existing business in the neighbourhood.
Gambling establishments, fast food takeaways, tanning salons, off licences/pubs and pay day loan shops will not be permitted but bids for community cafes and healthy takeaways will be considered.
It is part of a wider regeneration plan which is seeing 150 vacant houses in the vicinity being offered to people for £1 on condition that they are brought up to Decent Homes Standard within a year and aren’t sold or sub-let within five years.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We are giving people with a passion and commitment to the area the chance to create a new business and be part of the hugely exciting grassroots regeneration of Picton.
“Work is going to be starting imminently on refurbishing the first properties as part of the Homes for a Pound Plus scheme, while the recent completion of the Archbishop Blanch School has given the area a tremendous boost.
“This is a hugely exciting time for Picton and I believe we are on the cusp of a real upturn in its fortunes driven by the community, supported by the city council.”
Councillor Gary Millar, Cabinet member for business, enterprise and investment, said: “Shops and businesses are a vital and integral part of a successful local community.
“This is about giving people with great ideas and a solid business plan the chance to get their venture off the ground without having to worry about rental costs in the first three years.
“We don’t want to disadvantage existing local businesses so the ideas can’t duplicate what’s already on offer and we don’t want more shops selling services linked to fast food, gambling, pay day loans, alcohol or tanning.”
The move has been backed by Picton ward councillors Tim Beaumont, Nathalie Nicholas and Abdul Qadir, who said: “This is great news and will provide a boost for the new neighbourhood being created through the Homes for a Pound Plus scheme.”
“We want to give as many local entrepreneurs the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the area.”
Applicants that meet the criteria will be asked to provide further information as part of a due diligence process. Preference will be given to those business plans with the greatest chance of long term success and sustainability.
Drop in clinics for people wanting business advice hosted by Councillor Gary Millar are held at the Business and IP Centre at Liverpool Central Library from 1pm-4pm every Thursday.
Business advice can also be sought from the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, who can be contacted via the Local Growth Hub at https://localgrowthhub.com/wo.
People wanting to know more about the scheme should email firstname.lastname@example.org