Bolton Council has made £1.5m available to attract new businesses to Bolton town centre.
The council is looking to attract a wide range of businesses by offering grants to take over empty properties.
Grants of up to £20,000 will be available while applications for more than £20,000 will also be considered on a case by case basis.
And the council’s Cabinet today (October 14) approved a report giving the green light to the scheme going ahead.
The sort of businesses the council is looking to attract include: independent shops; premium cafés and restaurants; convenience stores; toy shops, and fashion boutiques.
As well as being used to attract new businesses the grants could be used to attract former retailers back into the town centre. Bradshawgate will be also targeted to attract restaurants to broaden its evening economy.
Businesses such as betting shops, pound shops, alcohol-based retailers, cash exchange shops and pawnbrokers, and hot food takeaways will not be eligible.
Potential retailers will be contacted about the scheme and because the council does not own most of the property in the town centre it will also be speaking to property agents so that they can promote it to their potential clients.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “We have taken in to account the views of key retailers and shoppers, and looked at what has been successful elsewhere to develop this scheme.
“Naturally, we want to help the local economy, and support retailers and budding entrepreneurs during these difficult times. Bolton like other town and cities throughout the country has been affected by the economic downturn, and the growth of online and out of town shopping.
“However, Bolton town centre still plays an important role in the town’s economy and our plans to increase prosperity. And while there are empty shop units in the town centre, there are also new businesses wanting to come here who are looking for the right opportunities to become available. We will be working hard to encourage the right businesses to invest in our town.”
To find out more about the scheme businesses can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01204 336131.