Empty Shops Grant Scheme

Following approval of the Union Street Empty Shops Action Plan, Aberdeen City Council has launched a £500,000 fund for city centre regeneration. 

The fund offers grant awards of up to 50% of project costs towards eligible physical works required for internal reconfiguration of vacant shops on Union Street to enable reoccupation by new businesses and tenants.  

The core objectives of the Union Street Empty Shops Grant Scheme are to: 

  • Reduce the number of vacant shops on Union Street through supporting eligible physical works required for internal reconfiguration for new uses - be that retail, cultural, hospitality or office space.
  • Leverage private investment in vacant shops on Union Street to bring them back into use. 
  • Support new business start-ups and entrepreneurs, and create new employment opportunities, through enabling the provision of suitable premises on Union Street 

All grants awarded from the fund must be paid out be the end of the 2024/25 financial year and therefore early applications are strongly encouraged. We welcome applications from eligible property owners or new and prospective tenants of vacant Union Street premises.  

How to apply 

Before applying please read the Application Guidance in full. If you have any questions please contact the project team by emailing unionstreet@aberdeencity.gov.uk.  

The link to download an application form is available below. Once complete, please email the form and supporting documents to unionstreet@aberdeencity.gov.uk. 

Applications will be accepted until 30 September 2024 or until such time as funding has been fully allocated.  

Assessment of Applications 

Applications received will be scored against the core objectives of the grant scheme by the project team, and funding awards prioritised accordingly. The final decision on fund allocation will be at the discretion of the project board. 

The review panel meets monthly and applicants will be notified of the decision taken in the week following.  

Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with feedback on their submission and, where this can be addressed, will have the right to reapply within the project timescale.

Useful Links

Those considering taking on a premise on Union Street, and applying for an award from the Union Street Empty Shops Grant Scheme, can email unionstreet@aberdeencity.gov.uk to request a ‘mapping’ document of the currently vacant ground floor units on the street. This document includes details of the properties and contact details for the letting agent acting on behalf of the landlord. Identifying a suitable unit and procuring a lease is the responsibility of the applicant.

New tenants on Union Street may be eligible for Fresh Start Relief, a 100% relief on business rates for a period of up to 12 months following the reoccupation of premises meeting the criteria. More information can be found on our webpage.

Data Privacy Notice 

For more information on our data privacy notice please follow the link

Applications will be considered from: 

  • Eligible property owners, or their representatives, of vacant Union Street premises. It is expected that property owners applying have a new tenant for the premises lined up, or are in the process of securing a new tenant. 
  • Eligible prospective or new leaseholders of a Union Street premise which is currently vacant, where trading or operations have not yet begun. Where a new leaseholder/tenant is making the application, it is a requirement that the property owner provides a supporting letter to indicate consent for the grant application.  

For applicant conditions in full please refer to the application guidance. 

The grant scheme being offered by Aberdeen City Council totals £500,000, with grants available to be paid from now until 31 March 2025. 

Grant awards from this fund will offer up to 50% of project costs for eligible physical works and reconfiguration with a maximum award amount of £35,000 per premises. Remaining project costs should be met by the applicant and/or private investment or sourced from alternative public funds. 

This fund will support project costs for eligible internal physical works and reconfiguration of ground floor vacant Union Street units to enable reoccupation, new commercial activity and support new employment opportunities.  

Funding can be spent on capital investment costs only. Revenue or operating costs are not eligible. For a list of eligible project costs in full please refer to the application guidance. External works and improvements and residential conversions are not eligible project costs under the Union Street Reconfiguration Fund.   

Consents required could include Planning Permission, Listed building Consent and Building Warrant Approval. You must obtain any relevant consents and meet any other legislative requirements prior to commencement of works. This will be a condition of the Grant Agreement. Please contact pi@aberdeencity.gov.uk for pre-advice about obtaining these consents through the Council. 

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