Shop front and high street improvement grant scheme

A £128,000 fund has been created to support independent and small shops across the borough and to pay for town centre improvement works. Eligible businesses in Crawley town centre and the neighbourhood parades will be able to bid for grants of up to £5,000 toward significant visual improvements to their frontage, or physical improvements to frontline business operations. Up to four adjoining businesses can also make a joint bid for a maximum of £20,000.

The funding is available to eligible Crawley businesses and could include:

  • shop front enhancements
  • lighting and decoration improvements
  • minor building works
  • display equipment
  • payment system improvements

To be eligible to apply for a grant, businesses must:

  • be registered with HMRC and Companies House 
  • pass due diligence checks undertaken by council officers
  • have a physical shop premises in Crawley borough
  • be a small independent business with a maximum of 50 employees
  • not be part of a regional, national or international chain or franchise
  • demonstrate that they possess a minimum five year lease on the premises 
  • not propose inappropriate physical shop front improvements if the premises is located in designated conservation areas

A due diligence and evaluation process will be undertaken on applications. Grants offered are subject to meeting eligibility criteria, fulfilling the aims of the scheme and a subsidy control declaration. 

Aims of the scheme

The principal aims of the shop front and high street improvement grant scheme are to:

  • enhance the quality and visual appearance of shop fronts and retail business units to deliver further footfall, business activity and economic vibrancy in Crawley town centre and the neighbourhood parades
  • strengthen the competitiveness of independent retailers and small businesses and to facilitate job creation to benefit local residents
  • contribute to the regeneration and renewal of Crawley town centre and the neighbourhood parades, aligning with the Town Centre Regeneration Programme and the Crawley One Town Economic Recovery Plan priorities of town centre renewal and a diverse and resilient economy

Grant applications which demonstrate that they will result in the delivery of environmental benefits, for example a reduction in carbon emissions, or general health and wellbeing benefits will be afforded extra weighting during the evaluation process.

Subsidy control

To adhere to relevant subsidy control regulation, the grant scheme will award successful applicants payments under the minimum financial assistance (MFA) exemption. MFA allows public authorities to award low value grants without needing to comply with the majority of subsidy control requirements. The MFA financial threshold means no recipient can receive more than £315,000 over the applicable period, which is the current and two previous financial years.

When applying, you must provide details of any state aid or public funding that you have received during this period. This should include the value of the aid received, the date it was granted, and the public body that provided the funding.

For further guidance or information on the UK subsidy control regime, visit the Gov.UK webpage.

How to apply

Eligible businesses must complete an application form which will then undergo a due diligence and evaluation process.  

Please ensure that you complete all relevant sections of the application form and that all supporting documentation and evidence is provided. Any incomplete or insufficiently detailed applications will not be accepted or processed for evaluation. 

The application process requires information about the following areas:

Business details

This section requires supporting information on latest accounts, tax returns and leases as well as:

  • business registrations
  • location
  • operations
  • company representatives
  • leaseholder information

Project proposal

A detailed outline of the project proposal including:

  • research
  • product details
  • timescales for delivery
  • expected outcomes and impact, for example business growth or creation of jobs
  • environmental benefits
  • visual improvements to the surrounding business environment


This section requires supporting information on accounts and cost quotations as well as:

  • grant value
  • itemised breakdown of costs
  • profitability and cash flow position of the business
  • details of other funding sources or previous grants awarded
  • details of other public funding received

Planning considerations

This section covers any planning considerations required, including:

  • does the proposal require planning permission?
  • is the premises located within a conservation area?
  • has advice been sought from the Local Planning Authority?

Evaluation process

Grant applications will be assessed and scored against the following criteria:

  • need for the project: existing condition of the premises – 30 marks
  • extent of the positive impact on the streetscape and environment and how project would uphold the conservation area (if applicable) – 30 marks
  • value for money (cost versus benefits) – 40 marks

Reasons for refusal of applications could be, but are not limited to:

  • the proposal doesn’t meet the basic eligibility criteria
  • the quality of proposal
  • unclear timescale and project delivery
  • unclear benefit or expected achievements of proposal
  • matters arising through due diligence process, for example if a business or applicant is found to have outstanding debts owing to the council
  • the proposal not matching the purpose of the grants fund

Payment timescale

The grant scheme is a rolling programme available until the grant funding has been exhausted. Applications will be evaluated by an officer group and considered by a grant panel on a regular basis. If your application passes the initial evaluation assessment and the panel agrees to award a grant, the grant will be paid directly into your business bank account via BACS, subject to signed terms and conditions and subsidy control declaration.


For further information about the shop front and high street improvement grant scheme please email