The landlord of a furniture shop in Gosport has been given a financial boost by the borough council for redecoration.

Ken White, owner of the buildings at 41-43 Stoke Road, has been awarded a £40,000 heritage grant to redecorate and bring back the first-floor shop fronts to their former glory. 

The Gosport Furniture Shop, which will now be spruced up, sells "quality new, used and reproduction furniture" and the work will cost Mr White around £66,000.

But under Gosport Borough Council’s heritage grant criteria, a maximum of £50,000 can be applied for per project. Having won a grant for £40,000, he will have to fund the last £26,000. 

The council’s grants sub-board award is offered with a stipulation clause that if the building is sold within five years the full grant must be paid back to the council.

The heritage council officer said: “This is the kind of work that we want shopkeepers to aspire to.”

Councillor Peter Chegwyn (Lib Dem, Forton) was minded to offer £25,000 but Mr White said because they had funded other work on the building at the behest of the heritage council officers over the years, he could not personally fund the shortfall to £66,000 of £41,000. 

Councillor Jamie Hutchison (Lib Dem, Hardway) was very keen to support the project as the impact would be well seen as the renovation of the high street would run along Stokes Road in that part. He said: “That is what the money is there for.”

While the board approved the grant of £40,000, 4 votes to 1,  Councillor Graham Burgess (Con, Lee East) did not vote in favour.

Council documents said: “The proposal will have a positive impact on the buildings by providing a high quality, traditional style shop front to No. 43 which in turn will have a positive impact on the conservation area.”

The buildings form part of a row running between Grove Buildings and the passage adjacent to the Royal Arms within the Stoke Road Conservation Area.

Mr White had won a full grant for the work as part of a council’s previous streetscene shop front improvement scheme but because he could not carry out the work within the set timeframe, Gosport council officers had advised him to let it lapse. 

Mr White said his family have owned the building for many decades and had no intention of selling it, with the furniture shop set up by his father.