Barnstaple 'BID' to boost business

BARNSTAPLE traders are being asked to consider a business improvement scheme for the town ahead of a ballot next month. The final bidBarnstaple Business Improvement District (BID) business plan is currently being sent out to all businesses in the town cen

BARNSTAPLE traders are being asked to consider a business improvement scheme for the town ahead of a ballot next month.

The final bidBarnstaple Business Improvement District (BID) business plan is currently being sent out to all businesses in the town centre area.

If voted in by business owners in February, the scheme would generate �700,000 over five years to spend on promoting the town as a destination for shoppers.

Gerry Fry, chairman of the bidBarnstaple steering group and owner of the Art Store in Joy Street, said: "Given today's trading environment where there is a drift to larger centres and on-line shopping, we need to be as proactive as we can be.


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"A lot of the projects originally planned for the town centre have stalled, and we need to strengthen our position by giving shoppers, visitors and locals alike an experience they will enjoy and want to return to, time and time again."

If approved, Barnstaple would become one of around 75 UK towns and cities to have implemented similar schemes since 2004.

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Businesses would pay a small levy based on one per cent of their rateable value, money that would be ring-fenced and spent on projects that are important to traders. Ideas to market the town include staging regular events and activities; improving signage; introducing welcome maps, information points and lamp post banners; and providing extra Christmas lighting.

"Our vision for Barnstaple is very clear," added Mr Fry. "It is to create a vibrant, welcoming and prosperous town centre that cherishes its rich history, encourages innovation and aims to be one of the primary retail and business destinations in the South West.

"A successful BID will give us control and help build economic prosperity for the future."

The bidBarnstaple business plan can be viewed on-line at www.bidbarnstaple.co.uk

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