BUSINESSES looking to take over empty units on Wiltshire's high streets will be given a helping hand. 

Wiltshire Council has announced the launch of the Wiltshire Towns Programme, with applications opening soon after the new year for grants toward new businesses taking over empty ground floor commercial spaces on Wiltshire high streets.

The council said: “The types of businesses eligible may be those providing services, they may be creative, cultural and community uses and will support many small or micro businesses, including new start-ups, who wish to lease or rent a vacant commercial property located within eligible areas of the town centres included in the Wiltshire Towns Programme.”

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Towns in South Wiltshire within the programme include Salisbury, Wilton, Amesbury, Ludgershall, Downton, Tidworth and Tisbury.

Grants available for businesses wishing to bring vacant commercial spaces back into use range from £1,000 to £10,000.

All applications must be received by Thursday, February 15 and more information can be found on Wiltshire Council’s webpage for the scheme.