Business plan for Barnstaple town centre
THE future of Barnstaple town centre is the subject of an exciting draft business plan revealed this week. The proposals for the town are the result of months of consultation with businesses and could provide a much-needed half-a-million-pound boost to en
THE future of Barnstaple town centre is the subject of an exciting draft business plan revealed this week.
The proposals for the town are the result of months of consultation with businesses and could provide a much-needed half-a-million-pound boost to enhance Barnstaple as a destination for shoppers.
As reported on the front page of the Gazette in September last year, town centre businesses are all being asked to consider whether to adopt a Business Improvement District (BID) scheme for the town. If approved, Barnstaple would become one of nearly 90 UK towns and cities to have implemented similar schemes since 2004.
This year, the similarly-sized towns of Skipton, Falmouth and Stratford-upon-Avon, Ilford and Hitchin have all voted to introduce BIDs.
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Barnstaple's draft BID proposal was sent out to town centre businesses at the end of last week. It details how a small collective investment based on one-per-cent of the rateable value would raise in the region of �540,000 over the five-year BID term.
Feedback on the draft plan will be used to formulate a final proposal in January, with businesses being asked to vote on whether to approve the scheme in February. If the vote is successful, a new, private sector-led company, limited by guarantee, will be established to manage and deliver the BID activity.
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The development of the Barnstaple BID is being led by a steering group of 12 businesses in the town. Group Chairman Gerry Fry, owner of the ArtStore Gallery on Joy Street, said it was important that businesses work together to ensure the heart of Barnstaple offered a first class environment for businesses, shoppers and visitors.
He said: "We want to fly the flag for Barnstaple, help create a vibrant town centre and draw more people in.
"The BID steering group has listened to feedback from the business community and they say they would want funds to be spent on proactive measures designed to boost trade, with significant investment in marketing and events."
The draft BID proposal allocates approximately �300,000 for marketing and promotion of the town, which would include staging regular events and activities. In addition, under the proposed scheme, Barnstaple could benefit from significant investment in re-vamped signage, welcome maps, information points and the provision of colourful lamp post banners to provide a welcome to streets in the town centre BID area.
There would also be an investment in the region of �100,000 to improve the attractiveness of the town and provide extra Christmas lighting for streets participating in the BID.
Mr Fry added: "At a time when Barnstaple is faced with many of the bigger projects that were planned for the town such as the Queen Street/Bear Street development being put on hold, a successful BID will offer the town centre a bright future."
Craig Bulley, Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, said he hoped businesses would see the value in implementing a BID: "While we are operating in challenging times at present, we hope that businesses recognise that for a relatively small collective investment, a BID can raise �540,000, which will be exclusively ring fenced to improve the town centre to the benefit of businesses, shoppers and visitors alike."
For more information, visit www.bidbarnstaple.co.uk