Addendum to Business Incentive Scheme 2019-2021 (Shopfront Scheme)


  • To recognise the acute challenges faced by the retail sector in maintaining a high street presence in the face of long-term shifts in consumer behaviour. The retail sector includes all business that have a consumer interaction to include service and hospitality businesses
  • To sustain vibrant town cores that continue to appeal to shoppers and visitors and to assist those retailers in high-density town cores to continue to run viable and sustainable enterprises


The following incentive is an addendum to the existing Business Incentive Scheme. The principle objective of the current BIS Scheme is to incentivise the reoccupation of vacant commercial and industrial units.

The additional incentive is designed to offer a qualifying retail business support in either:

  • Assistance with the development of a strategic, operational or growth plan. This plan would be tailored to individual business needs and designed to help the business address the many challenges faced by high street retailers. An external approved mentor will prepare the plan in consultation with the retailer.
  • Physical upgrade works to the exterior of their building (eligible works are listed below)


Both supports are exclusive to retail businesses, conditional on:

  • The business being located in an area designated by the Local Authority as a core retail area
  • The rates due to the Local Authority being paid in full for the current year

Supports Available:

Either (but not both) of the two listed supports will be available to qualifying businesses in any one year. Only one grant will be approved per unit. Applicants cannot apply for further support under this revised scheme. Supports are either: 

  • Mentoring Assistance: valued at €700 to support the preparation of a business plan jointly sponsored by Longford Local Enterprise Office and Longford County Council. Maximum support available is 100% of plan preparation costs up to a maximum grant of €700. Any costs incurred in excess of €700 must be met by the grant recipient. Mentors provided from the Longford LEO Office's approved list of mentors
  • Physical Improvements: to the shop-front exterior of building to include painting, replacement of windows/doors, new signage, installation of floral displays and window boxes, repair and re-instatement of shop fronts, ridge tiles, interior fixtures and fittings (excluding phone, broadband, tills and merchandising items). Maximum support available 50% of qualifying expenditure up to a maximum grant of €700 jointly sponsored by Longford Local Enterprise Office and Longford County Council. Grant paid on evidence of expenditure being incurred. Any works should comply with Development Plan Standards.


The authority to approve supports will rest with the Business Incentive Scheme sub-committee.

Terms & Conditions on Physical Improvements Grant:

  • Maximum Grant permitted is 50% of costs (vat exclusive) with a maximum grant payment of €700.
  • Businesses that are currently in receipt of a rates rebate under the existing Business Incentive Scheme cannot apply.
  • The Budget for this scheme in 2020 is limited and applications will be assessed on a ‘first come-first served basis’.  Eligible works undertaken from 1st January 2020 will be deemed eligible if all other conditions are satisfied.
  • Properties must be commercially rated.
  • Applications may not be considered where there are local taxes or charges due to the Council.
  • Grant payment will be subject to the applicant having obtained planning permission if required.
  • Priority will be given to smaller independent businesses within the town/village centre.
  • Applications will be accepted from either the landlord or lessee, whichever is appropriate.
  • This grant will be applicable to properties that are classified as either: Hospitality or Retail-Local on the Longford Valuation Listing and have an Annual Rates Bill of less than €10,000.
  • Proposed works shall not interfere with any existing planning relating to the property and/or site.
  • Applicants to confirm if the proposed works relate to a property on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS).

Eligible works under the scheme include:

  • Repair and reinstatement of all or any part of a shopfront fixture that is visible from the street, including the first and upper floors of premises (subject to the associated ground floor unit being in commercial use).
  • Reinstatement of architectural or historic features that have formed part of the buildings’ design and character but may have been lost or damaged over time.
  • Repainting of shopfronts. Colour schemes should co-ordinate with adjoining shopfronts (as per the agreement of the Planning Authority) and upper floors of buildings should be painted to blend in appropriately with the shopfronts.
  • Repair and reinstatement of guttering and down-pipes (to match historic materials where appropriate).
  • Repainting and/or re-rendering of prominent elevations.
  • Repair of external stonework and brickwork and replacement of stonework or brickwork which forms part of the stall riser of the shopfront.
  • Removal of neon signs, banners or other inappropriate signage affixed to front elevation or side elevations visible from the street and replacement with signage in line with the Longford County Development Plan standards.
  • Permanent removal of external security shutters and installation of suitable replacements.
  • Repair and installation of interior fixtures and fittings (excluding phone, broadband, tills and merchandising items).

How to Apply for a Grant under the Scheme

  • The following application form must be completed in full, signed and submitted with all requested documentation to:

Local Enterprise Office, Longford County Council, Áras an Chontae, Longford
Tel:  043-3343346   Email:

  • Applications may be made by the owner of the premises or by the lessee with the owner’s written consent.
  • The completed Application Form must be accompanied by a description of the proposed works

Grant Drawdown

  • Payment will only be made following completion of works or plan
  • Upon completion of works, the applicant must submit evidence of paid contractor invoices,
  • All payments must be made through the applicant’s bank account.
  • If a grant is not drawn down within a period of 6 months from the date of issue of the Grant Offer letter then funding will be withdrawn, unless a prior agreement has been made.
  • Value of rebate/Grant in any one year cannot exceed value of rates paid in that year.
  • Please note that grant allocation is on a one off basis only.

Download a copy of the application form here.