Barnstaple traders back town improvement plan

TRADERS have given their backing to an investment scheme that will bring more than �720,000 of improvements to Barnstaple town centre. They have voted in favour of introducing a Business Improvement District (BID), a five-year plan whereby businesses pay

TRADERS have given their backing to an investment scheme that will bring more than �720,000 of improvements to Barnstaple town centre.

They have voted in favour of introducing a Business Improvement District (BID), a five-year plan whereby businesses pay a small levy to spend collectively on enhancement projects they feel would improve the town as a destination for shoppers.

The town has become one of around 75 UK towns and cities to have implemented similar schemes since 2004.

At the close of the ballot on Friday, 40 per cent of traders had cast their vote, a figure well above the national average. Of those that voted, 62 per cent were in favour of the BID.


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It is hoped the ring-fenced funding will help increase footfall in the town and increase customer spend.

BID steering group chairman Gerry Fry said: "This is the opportunity traders have needed for a long time. The onset of the BID will provide all businesses with the opportunity to shape the future of Barnstaple. It's finally given the traders control over happens in and around their trading environment for the next five years."

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Barnstaple Town Centre manager Craig Bulley, who has been coordinating the project for more than two years, said: "We are very excited for what the future now holds for the town and are keen to get started on the four key projects which are: marketing and promotion of the town; provision of regular events and entertainment; more signage and information for visitors to help them find shops and businesses in the town; and to improve the attractiveness of the town centre.

"It's envisaged that the BID will deliver tangible benefits to the town as well as help promote economic growth, which is what we need.

"A vibrant town centre will increase the area's desirability and attract inward investment, and of course that is good news not only for the traders but also shoppers, visitors and employees in the town.

"The BID will commence on April 1and our focus is now to start the delivery of the various projects.

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