SHOPFRONTS should look their best from now on, following a bid to preserve the “beautiful heritage” of a Tynedale town.

Northumberland County Council, working in conjunction with Hexham Town Council, Hexham Civic Society and local traders, has updated and published a paper form of the Hexham Shopfront Design Guide to encourage businesses to retain the character of Hexham’s conservation area.

Northumberland County Councillor for Hexham East, Cath Homer, said the updated guide, which is also available electronically on the county council website, would ensure more shops would abide to the guidelines.

At the latest meeting of Hexham Town Council, Coun. Homer said: “We are always keen to make sure shopfronts are of a high standard for a beautiful heritage town such as Hexham, which deserves the best standards possible.

“The guide is now on the county council website and a paper guide has been published, and we have tried everything we can to drive the high expectations of Hexham, and let others know what those expectations are.

“When the shopfronts are not of the standard we expect, then a planning enforcement notice will come.”

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said: “ In a market town such as Hexham, shops and commercial premises are a key element of the conservation area, and have a considerable impact on its overall appearance. Achieving a high standard of design in relation to shops and other businesses is important in underpinning the commercial success of Hexham.”

Last summer, Hexham Civic Society held a competition for best shopfront in Hexham to encourage businesses to take pride in the shop’s appearance.