In an era where online shopping and big retail chains dominate, the traditional charm of high street shops has been under threat. Local authorities are recognizing the need to preserve and revitalise these historic high streets. One compelling strategy is to encourage and offer grants to high street shop owners to help with improving and  transforming their shopfronts with traditional timber designs. In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons behind this trend and the benefits it brings to both shop owners and their communities. its no coincidence that the most celebrated and popular high streets for visitors are all very traditional in their design,this recent article  highlights some of the best high streets within the UK,

The Importance of High Street Revival

High streets are not just places to shop; they are the heart and soul of many communities. These historic high streets reflect a town’s identity and heritage, many of which can be seen with the North East of England such as York, Durham, Yarm, Alnwick and Morpeth, an example of a recent scheme we carried in Gateshead can be seen here. However, over the years, high streets have somewhat suffered from unattractive and bland shop fronts, often with quite garish signage and a mismatch of styles.

Preserving the character and charm of high streets is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Community Identity: High streets are a source of pride for local communities. They embody the town’s history and culture, making it unique and memorable.
  2. Economic Benefits: Revitalized high streets attract tourists and shoppers, boosting the local economy and creating job opportunities.
  3. Sustainability: Preserving existing structures reduces the environmental impact associated with demolishing and rebuilding.
  4. Attractiveness: A well-maintained high street encourages foot traffic, enhancing the overall appeal of the area.

Traditional Timber Shopfronts: A Timeless Aesthetic

Traditional timber shopfronts hold a special place in the hearts of many. Their classic design, characterized by wooden facades, large display windows, and intricate detailing, exudes warmth and authenticity. Local authorities are increasingly encouraging shop owners to embrace this traditional aesthetic for several compelling reasons:

  1. Historic Preservation: Timber shopfronts contribute to the preservation of the historical character of high streets. They pay homage to the architectural styles of bygone eras.
  2. Aesthetic Appeal: Timber shopfronts create a charming and inviting atmosphere that draws shoppers and tourists. The warm, natural tones of wood have a timeless appeal.
  3. Versatility: Timber can be customized to fit various architectural styles, incorporating detailed corbels, mouldings and signage making it adaptable to the unique character
  4. Sustainability: Timber is a renewable resource, and its use promotes sustainable building practices. It can also be restored and maintained for decades.

Local Authority Initiatives

To encourage shop owners to invest in traditional timber shopfront transformations, many local authorities have initiated various programs and incentives:

  1. Grant Schemes: Local councils offer financial grants to assist with the costs of renovating shopfronts. These grants often come with guidelines that promote the use of traditional timber designs.
  2. Design Guidelines: Authorities may provide clear design guidelines to ensure that the shopfront renovations align with the historical character of the high street.
  3. Expert Consultation: Some councils offer shop owners access to architectural experts and historical documents that show the original streetscape.
  4. Tax Incentives: Tax breaks or reductions are sometimes provided to businesses that invest in shopfront renovations, making it financially attractive for owners.

Benefits of Traditional Timber Shopfront Transformations

The transformation of high street shopfronts into traditional timber designs offers numerous advantages:

  1. Enhanced Kerb Appeal: A well-maintained timber shopfront instantly elevates the aesthetics of the entire street, making it more appealing to shoppers.
  2. Increased Foot Traffic: The welcoming atmosphere created by timber shopfronts draws in more pedestrians, potentially leading to increased sales.
  3. Strengthened Identity: A cohesive appearance created by traditional designs reinforces the unique identity of the high street.
  4. Longevity: Timber shopfronts, when properly maintained, can last for decades, reducing maintenance costs over time.


High streets are the lifeblood of many communities, and their preservation is essential for maintaining local character and economic vitality. Encouraging and offering grants for traditional timber shopfront transformations is a smart strategy employed by local authorities to revitalize these cherished areas. By doing so, they not only breathe new life into their high streets but also ensure that the charm and heritage of these unique districts endure for generations to come.

so if you own a high street store that you think could benefit from a traditional heritage shop front makeover then why no speak to us to see how we can help you with the design, manufacture and installation.

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