CBD (Central Business District) Amenity Improvement Fund


The CBD Amenity Improvement Fund seeks to assist building and business owners to enhance their buildings and signage, to improve the appearance of Levin’s CBD for the benefit of businesses and the community alike. This is one of the actions identified in the Transforming Taitoko/Levin Town Centre Strategy.

The fund will contribute to achieving the objectives of the CBD Signage and Building Design Policy, adopted by Council in April 2019, and will initially be a two-year trial. Up to $50,000 per year is available.

Successful applicants will be eligible for up to 75 per cent of the cost of signage, to a maximum of $1,000 per application; or up to 50 per cent of costs for shop frontage improvements, to a maximum of $5,000 per application.

Artist impressions showing the potential impact of signage and frontage upgrades are shown below in the image gallery.

'Diamond in the rough' project

During the first year of the trial (2019/2020 financial year), Council is running a ‘diamond in the rough’ project.

Any business that obtains funding for building frontage improvements (eg not signage only) and completes the physical works by June 2020 will be eligible to have the Council contribution to their project doubled. This will be determined by way of public vote, based on which project has been the ‘most transformative’.*

*conditions will apply.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply to the fund the applicant must:

  • Own a building or a business in the Commercial Zone area of the Levin town centre (priority will be given to the most central commercial area between Bath Street and Stanley Street);
  • If structural changes are being made to the building or verandah, the building must have been assessed as being 34% New Building Standard (NBS) or better;
  • If the proposal relates to non-structural changes (eg signage or paint and decorative features), the building and/or verandah does not need to 34% NBS or better;
  • The changes proposed must be consistent with the Horowhenua District Council CBD Signage and Building Design Policy.

Full details of the fund are available below. 

CBD Amenity Improvement Fund(PDF, 27KB)


If successful, applicants will be required to enter into an agreement of acceptance covering matters of condition. Below are some examples of conditions that could be used.

Commencement of Work

The following information must be provided to the Council prior to commencement of any work associated with the project:

  • a draft schedule of work;
  • who has been contracted to carry out the work;
  • timeframe for completion of the project.

Funding from Other Sources

  1. Council must be advised immediately of any changes to financial resources and arrangements connected with the project.

Funding Release

  1. Funding will be released at the completion of the work subject to:
  • confirmation that the work has been completed to any special conditions that apply;
  • authentication of expenditure (i.e. identification of what work has been carried out, by whom and at what cost) - originals of all invoices are to be provided
  • proof that all statutory consents (i.e. resource consents, building consents) have been obtained

Progress Reports

  1. Brief progress reports are to be provided on request.


  1. Financial assistance may be reviewed or revoked at any time if one or more of the following circumstances arise:
  • unsatisfactory work;
  • unsatisfactory progress;
  • non-disclosure, misleading or false disclosure of information.

Appropriate Work and Financial Management

  1. All work must be carried out in a manner consistent with the Horowhenua District Council CBD Signage and Building Design Policy and in accordance with generally accepted sound financial practice.

Ongoing Protection (where applicable)

  1. The exterior of the building, verandah, and signage may not be altered without prior approval from Council except in the following circumstances;
  • Replacing like with like (e.g. repainting in the same/similar colour);
  • Temporary or emergency works;
  • Installation of temporary festive displays (e.g. Christmas displays).

Acknowledgement of Assistance

  1. That acknowledgement of assistance is made where this is requested by the Council.

Special Conditions

  1. In some instances, additional conditions may be imposed to achieve the purpose of this fund.


The Transforming Taitoko/Levin Town Centre Strategy identified Oxford Street as Levin’s primary urban asset. Through the public engagement process, both business owners and the wider community expressed a view that some buildings and verandahs in the Levin town centre have become ‘tired’ and rundown. In addition, it is acknowledged that signage dominates the streetscape with many businesses having multiple large signs in one or more of the following locations:

  • Fascia boards (signs are often larger than the fascia board);
  • Freestanding footpath signs;
  • Above verandah signs;
  • Very large signs in shop windows, which obscure sightlines between shops and the street.

These characteristics detract from the overall experience of the town centre. Having fewer, clearer signs assists not only the advertiser by allowing their sign to be ‘heard’, but also enhances the appearance of the building and the overall quality of the streetscape.