Town Centre Transformation Fund

14 Sep 21
Herts LEP logo

The purpose of the Town Centre Transformation Fund project is to provide capital investment in the form of grants and recyclable loans to help recipients respond to the changing dynamics of our towns and cities as a result of evolving shopping habits and other economic, social and behavioural changes. 

The fund will assist with the renovation or renewal of sites or buildings, or infrastructure improvements in Hertfordshire’s towns to ensure we secure and grow our stock of better quality commercial space and provide good quality accommodation for businesses.  This funding will help provide the infrastructure for the creation of new jobs and new businesses which, in turn, will help to support new skills development.


The LEP piloted a town centre transformation scheme in Stevenage to convert redundant and under-used space above shops to bring the space back to commercial uses.  The Stevenage pilot has created 1,200 m2 of commercial space at a total cost of £3m (plus the cost of purchasing the buildings).  This funding pot will roll the concept out across a number of schemes in Herts since it is a key component of revitalising and bringing non-retail life (and footfall) during the day and evening back into town centres.

Funding for this initiative is provided from LEP reserves and is currently capped at £5m with an anticipated maximum LEP contribution of £1m per agreed project application.

Criteria for the Fund

The Town Centre Transformation Fund is an evergreen fund.  The criteria for the fund are as follows:

  • Projects must relate to the regeneration, economic resilience or growth of town/city centres or high streets, or on projects that impact on town centres/high streets
  • Projects can relate to the renovation or renewal of sites or buildings, or infrastructure improvements
  • Projects need to be projects new to the LEP, or existing LEP projects that are expanded provided that extra outputs are delivered
  • Projects need to demonstrate that they address employment, skills, or business support requirements, or a combination of these. This programme is aimed at all business sectors present in town and city centres, not just the retail sector
  • Although not aimed at housing projects, the LEP may consider a scheme that involves housing provided that it is part of a wider package addressing employment, skills or business support
  • The LEP will not consider public realm improvements in isolation unless they are part of a wider package of proposals addressing employment, skills or business support
  • LEP funding will be a blend of loan and grant funding, with usually a minimum of 50% loan funding. We may consider more than 50% grant funding at the LEP’s discretion
  • Projects may apply for up to 50% of the total project costs, up to a maximum of £1,000,000 LEP funding. The minimum LEP funding is £500,000
  • Match funding can be public sector or private sector and can be capital or revenue funding
  • Projects must be based in Hertfordshire and be demonstrably applicable to the county’s businesses, residents or visitors
  • The project spending start date is 1st January 2022, regardless of when the project is approved
  • All outputs are to be delivered by 31st March 2027
  • Loan funding is to be repaid by 31st March 2027. Interest will be 0% during this period

Eligibility for Funding

The Transforming Town Centre Funding programme is being promoted on the LEP website.  However, the LEP wishes to see opportunities whereby LEP funding can be leveraged against other funding opportunities such as those being submitted under the recent Government Levelling Up Fund.

Projects will all need to be worked up regeneration schemes that have a good fit with the strategic objectives of the LEP in terms of regeneration and supporting employment growth.  However the funding criteria listed above will still apply, and all applications will need to meet the requirements of the LEP’s Assurance Framework and be approved by the LEP Board.

Application and Decision Process

The LEP has a very well established application process, in accordance with the LEP’s Assurance Framework.  All applications, including these, need to go through a two stage process:

Strategic Outline Case – this is a high level application process to set the objectives of the project and assess its strategic fit together with its eligibility for funding.  Projects that pass this stage are invited to submit a Full Business Case

Full Business Case – this incorporates most of the questions of the Strategic Outline Case but is a much more detailed assessment of the project, focusing (in addition to strategic fit) on economic case, financial case, commercial case, and management case.  This stage also requires a detailed funding, outputs, delivery plan and risk register

Projects undergo an officer and independent organisation assessment, followed by appraisal by the LEP Chairs’ Panel.  The Chairs’ Panel them recommend a decision to the LEP Board.


There are four possible dates for submission of applications to the LEP:

Strategic Outline Case (SOC) Application Deadline

  • 16 December 2021
  • 03 March 2022
  • 06 May 2022
  • 02 September 2022

Next Steps and Further Information

This funding application process is being managed by:

Sam Hudson
Telephone/mobile: 07469 089213

Please contact Sam to register your interest and for a copy of the LEP’s bidding pack.

Download applicants pack

If you would like more information about the Transforming Town Centres Fund in general please contact:

Adam Wood
Mobile: 07767 481440