BID chairman warns of tough times ahead

Joseph Bulmer

But Barnstaple town centre traders prepare for battle with brand new marketing campaign

THE chairman of BID Barnstaple has warned that independent businesses will face increased challenges for the foreseeable future.

Speaking at the not-for-profit company’s AGM on Wednesday night, newly re-elected chairman Dane Stanley said town centre traders will experience continued competition from out of town retailers

But Mr Stanley, of Private Collection in Holland Walk, said BID Barnstaple looked forward to bringing further enhancements to the town, and increasing visitor numbers to the High Street.

“We have suffered frustrations but I am sure the hard work will pay dividends shortly,” he said.

“Many of the projects currently under progress will come to fruition in the next months.”

Earlier this year, BID Barnstaple circulated more than 75,000 colour-coded town centre maps as part of a brand new marketing campaign to target shoppers far and wide.

It is hoped that the next phase of the campaign – including the installation of new fingerpost displays – will be launched in time for Christmas.

A new website is currently under construction and legal agreements are being drawn up with the owners of Green Lanes Shopping Centre for the positioning of a state-of-the-art touch-screen information point.

“We hope for good progress in the next few months on this major project which I am sure will raise the town’s profile,” said Mr Stanley.

The chairman spoke about a number of other BID Barnstaple projects at Wednesday’s AGM.

The company hopes to negotiate an incentive scheme for nationwide coach companies and is discussing car parking fees with North Devon Council leaders.

It has led a survey among town centre traders about proposed supermarket developments in the town and is set to launch “BLISS: Barnstaple Loyal Independent Shoppers Scheme” in a bid to encourage local trading.

Mr Stanley also said the company hoped to revisit discussions with Barnstaple in Bloom to see how it could help put the town “back on the floral map”.

A civic pride campaign and a river-themed event along the Strand are also in the pipeline for next year.

Mr Stanley appealed to BID members to come forward with ideas and comments about how the Board could help maintain and enhance Barnstaple’s status as the regional retail centre.