Guidance on shop frontages

NEW guidance on how shops and businesses maintain their premises are to go out to public consultation.

The guidance is set to be included as part of the Hartlepool Local Plan and will be used by Hartlepool Borough council to help decide planning applications in shopping areas.

The draft document covers areas from window displays and lighting, to advertising boards and managing empty shops.

The council says the guidance aims to encourage good design so the town’s retail areas are vibrant, pleasant to visit and safe. The draft document states: “In the same way that a theatre or film set creates a backdrop for the performance, a shopping parade made up of distinctive shop frontages creates a stage for economic action.

“The key to retaining a vibrant shopping area is to ensure that the standard of shop fronts does not decline and that each design is appropriate to its particular circumstances.”

The guidance says that historic shop fronts should be refurbished while modern shop fronts should reflect the area they are in.

The document says that empty shop units should be maintained as much as possible in order to attract potential new tenants.

An eight-week consultation will begin soon after being agreed by councillors on the Regeneration Services Committee.

Copies of the document will be available at the civic centre and on the council’s website.