A new grants scheme to encourage fresh shops into empty town centre retail units in Ilkeston and Long Eaton will see the council help pay for the signage the stores need to get up and running.

The grants apply to new shops only and are worth up to £2,000 each. Erewash Borough Council experts are aiming to support new business and fund “quality signage, thereby enhancing the street scene and improving the overall vitality and viability of our town centres”.

A report says the money will help “reduce vacancy rates in our town centres by encouraging new businesses to occupy empty units”. The grants over the next two years will come from cash allocated to Erewash under the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Erewash’s Council Executive approved the Empty Shop Signage Grant Scheme when it met on 18 July. The borough’s Director of Resources said: “It will allow the council to support town centre businesses with immediate effect.”

Councillor Alex Breene, the council’s Lead Member for Town Centres, Regeneration and Planning, said:

“We want our town centres to be vibrant and thriving but too many shops have been left vacant. These grants of up to £2,000 recognise financial support is necessary when opening a new business. The grants also signal the council’s wider ambitions to revitalise Erewash high streets.”