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Town Centre Fund 2019-20

Town Centre Fund 2019-20 - funding guidelines

We are managing a new time limited grant fund of £2.5million and are now welcoming applications from eligible organisations to apply for grants of more than £50,000 to help improve our town centres.

It is funded by the Scottish Government Town Centre Fund and must fit with the Government’s criteria which is set out in the Scottish Government Town Centre Action Plan

Following the conditions set by the Scottish Government, the fund is open to towns with a population equal to or greater than 1,000. In our area these are:

East Kilbride; Hamilton; Rutherglen; Cambuslang; Blantyre; Larkhall; Lanark; Carluke; Strathaven; Bothwell; Uddingston; Stonehouse; Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood; Lesmahagow; Law; Biggar; Forth; Douglas; Ashgill; Carnwath; Coalburn; Kirkfieldbank

The aim of the fund is to stimulate and support place-based economic investments which encourage town centres to diversify and flourish, creating footfall through local improvements and partnerships. Specifically, this fund will contribute to transformative investments which drive local economic activities and re-purpose town centres to become more diverse, successful and sustainable.

Grants will be awarded to support a wide range of capital investments which deliver against the themes of the Scottish Government Town Centre Action Plan.

This could include repurposing buildings and improving access and infrastructure.

The Town Centre Action Plan themes are:

  • Town centre living –  creating more opportunities for town centre living; bringing people into the town centre who will use its shops and services
  • Vibrant local economies – creating a supportive business environment including the involvement of Business Improvement Districts and other local partnerships
  • Enterprising communities – social enterprise, services, arts and events and, community empowerment and community-based activities which increase the health, wealth and wellbeing of town centres
  • Accessible public services – creating and accessing public facilities and services, supported by economic, service and transport hubs
  • Digital towns – exploiting digital technology and promoting Wifi infrastructure to enable access to information, data analytics, marketing opportunities, branding, and communication with the wider world
  • Proactive planning – land reform and supporting the creation of sustainable, low-carbon and connected places which promote natural and cultural assets, designed in partnership with local communities and key stakeholders

The key criteria are:

  • This is a one off opportunity totalling £2.5 million within the 2019/20 financial year. Only applications over £50,000 will be accepted
  • Projects require to be transformational and therefore projects require to be of a scale to deliver meaningful change and economic outcomes. This includes projects which can show that they will encourage more people to visit the town centre, increase jobs, widen opportunities to visit the town centre, increase business or housing space or increase dwell time in the centre
  • A project delivery plan will be required with each bid to show evidence of deliverability and illustrate how the grant can be spent within the timeframe. The plan will include:
    • An assurance that all land/property is already secured within the timeframe
    • A project plan and indicative programme of works
    • Match funding in place where appropriate
    • Design where appropriate
    • Relevant statutory approvals are in place such as planning permission, building warrants and listed building consent or a realistic timescale for their approval is provided
    • An explanation of your organisation will procure any works; for example 3 quotes obtained
    • An outline of how any ongoing maintenance will be funded and to ensure sustainability of the project
  • Applications will only be accepted from formally constituted organisations with a bank account. This can include Community Councils, Business Improvement Districts, Development Trusts and other similar bodies
  • Projects must be for capital costs only, no revenue costs such as staff costs or overheads will be eligible. Capital costs are fixed, one-time expenses incurred on the purchase of land, buildings, construction and equipment. In other words, it is the cost incurred in bringing a project to an operable status. It does not include recurring operational costs (revenue). No additional revenue funding is available from the Council. Consideration of any ongoing revenue costs created by the project must be reflected in the proposals presented
  • Projects must be within communities of over 1,000 and within the town centre area recognised within South Lanarkshire Local Plan. Plans showing the town centre boundaries are on on our South Lanarkshire Local Plan Boundary Maps pages
  • Projects and applications should link to existing community led action plans, town centre strategies and priorities where possible. It must also be shown that proposals mirror the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan themes (noted on page one)
  • Only one application per town will be accepted. Where more than one organisation is interested or have submitted an application, organisations will be asked to work together to prepare one application
  • While applications can consist of multiple partners and multiple projects within the same town centre, the application should demonstrate how each individual project is delivered
  • The fund can contribute 100% of project costs but the leverage of additional match funding will be weighted favourably in the assessment criteria
  • South Lanarkshire Council will act in cognisance of State Aid rules and therefore cannot accept any applications which are deemed to contravene these rules
  • The grant must be committed by 31 March 2020 and fully spent and evidenced six months after this date.
  • Applications are to be lodged online through the Grantvisor system. No other format of application will be accepted

Application assessment and scoring criteria

The applications will be assessed against a number of criteria including:

  • Fit with the Scottish Town Centre Action Plan themes
  • Link to any local Community Led Action Plans or Town Centre Strategies where available
  • Level of community involvement, consultation and local partnerships
  • Evidence of how the project will deliver transformational change to the town centre
  • Evidence of economic benefit for example, estimated increase in visitor numbers, jobs created, business space created or improved, number of town centre homes created, derelict spaces brought back into use
  • Evidence of the organisation’s experience and suitability in delivering projects
  • Match funding from other sources. Weight will be given to schemes where additional funding is already in place or can be realistically obtained within the timescales
  • A project delivery plan showing evidence of deliverability and illustrating that it is highly probably that grants can be spent within the timeframe. This will include:
    • a project plan and programme with key stages identified
    • a design plan where appropriate
    • plans to fund any ongoing maintenance to ensure sustainability
    • consideration of statutory consents and timescales
  • Assurances that all land/property is already secured or can be secured within the timeframe.

Where an application has multiple partners and or projects, the Council may provide advice as to elements of projects which strengthen or weaken the overall application or deliverability and may advise applicants to change or remove elements of an application.

Where either the application demand exceeds the available budget or parts of projects are weaker in assessment against the funds criteria, the Council reserves the right to offer a partial award to applicants. The applications will be assessed by the Council and its decision is final. 

Timescales and How to Apply

Applications open - 13 June 2019 
Application deadline - 31 July 2019  
Awards made - 25 September 2019
Project start - 1 October 2019
Projects fully committed - 31 March 2020
Grant fully spent and evidenced - 31 August 2020

Applications must be made via our Community benefit funds page.

Following the completion of an initial Expression of Interest a full application form will be made available to eligible applicants to complete and upload documents. The information required as additional uploaded documents includes:

  • Constitution, most recent accounts, recent bank statement, equal opportunities policy
  • A project plan including:
    • Description of the projects
    • Explanation of any partnerships and roles and responsibilities
    • Links to the National Town Centre Action plan
    • Links to local community action plans and, if available, community consultation
    • Any background to the project or evidence of need
    • Evidence of how the project will help deliver transformational change to the town centre
    • Evidence of the organisations experience and suitability in delivering the projects
    • Evidence that all statutory permissions have been considered and are being processed (such as planning permission, building warrants, listed building consent etc.)
  • A cost plan including:
    • Showing accurate costs and basis of costs. Where possible 3 quotes should be provided however, given the tight timescale, in some instances estimated costs will be accepted. (During delivery of successful applications all expenditure must evidence good value and 3 quotes for items or work will be required.)
    • Cashflow projection including timescales and key target dates for expenditure

More detailed scoring criteria will be provided following applicants registering a note of interest.

Successful applicants must agree to report back on progress made in line with the reporting arrangements set by the Scottish Government.

Any enquiries can be sent to FundingAndDevelopment@southlanarkshire.gov.uk