Businesses are being encouraged to attend workshops, complete surveys and take part in one-to-one interviews as part of ongoing work to develop the town to become a Business Improvement District (BID).
Their feedback will be used to help develop the BID as a vehicle for making Tamworth a more attractive place to visit, shop and explore, by identifying current issues faced by businesses and new ideas to promote and development the area.
Rob Holder, manager of John Lewis Tamworth and Chair of the BID Steering Group, which is leading the project, said: “Tamworth is rich in history and is a great place to visit, but people beyond the region only tend to think of Tamworth as a small town and a retail park. We have some great businesses here, both large and small, and we want to change people’s perceptions and improve their experience of Tamworth.”
The BID team, which is led by local business representatives, is in the process of interviewing businesses within the proposed BID boundary, covering the town centre and retail parks, and holding workshops to identify the improvements that will be addressed through the BID. These will potentially include improving the experience of people who visit the town, the riverside and Ventura retail parks, as well as developing new ways to promote the whole town more widely in the future.
Questionnaires have been sent to more than 700 businesses in the proposed BID boundary and a series of workshops are being held next week, when businesses in that area will be able to find out more and share their views.
Workshops take place on:
Wednesday, February 15
8am-9.30am – The Globe Inn, Lower Gungate
12.30pm – 2pm – Ankerside Management Suite, Ankerside Shopping Centre
5.30pm-7pm – M&S, Ventura Park
Thursday, February 16
2pm-3.30pm – Holiday Inn Express, Riverside area
5.30pm-7pm – The Globe Inn, Lower Gungate
Rob said: “A BID can only be successful if we have the support of the majority of businesses within it, and for that to happen we need their views about the current challenges they are facing and any ideas they have that can bring about change. Their feedback will then shape the content of a BID Business Plan which will be put out to a vote in October.
“I would urge every business which has received a survey to fill it in. We can send someone to help fill in that form if needed. I would also encourage everyone to attend at least one of the workshops to find out more because if everyone gets on board, the BID has the potential to become the catalyst for real change in Tamworth.
“As a Steering Group, we hear lots of people discussing the problems Tamworth is facing as a town, both in the town centre and on the retail parks; well this is your chance to really try and make a lasting change.”
The team is also working closely with Tamworth Borough Council to identify the services already provided through the rates system to ensure any BID activity carried out is only over and above that which the council is already obliged to deliver.
Rob said, “It is essential that the activity delivered by BID is additional to the work of the council. In places where BIDs are already established, it has been proven that if the BID works with the local authority it can drive even more value from the services they deliver in addition to the activity of the BID itself.”
Vice chair, Samantha Panton of Roasters, added: “The Steering Group members are all passionate about Tamworth and have a strong commitment to the economic success of the town and every business within it. We want all businesses to have an opportunity to express their views about the activities they would like to see in the BID business plan over the next five years. This is a one off opportunity and I urge all businesses to get involved in this exciting project.”
The project to develop the BID is being supported with funds from Tamworth Borough Council.
All businesses are encouraged to complete the online or paper surveys and attend the workshops. Online copies, and more information, is available from http://www.tamworthbid.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01332 419051.
Notes for Editors:
- There are now over 260 BIDs across England since being introduced in 2004. These have had an average turnout of 30% to 50% of the business with 70% of the businesses voting in favour
- BIDs bring together businesses and other stakeholders in a defined geographical town, so they can develop projects and activities which will help boost the local economy
- The funding is used to appoint consultants to help local partnerships develop a BID proposal. The consultants guide, advise and support the local partnerships to give each proposal the best possible chance for success
- The organisations in the proposed BID town will vote on whether to pay an additional levy. If they vote yes, a new BID will be created and the levy will pay for its activities and projects
- BIDs are funded by local businesses through a levy on their rates bill
- They see improvements to business profitability and turnover which would not have happened without a BID
- Businesses will identify the town and the issues and put together a proposal which should include delivery guarantees, performance indicators and management structure
- The plan voted for has a lifespan of 5 years and further proposals have to be reaffirmed through a further vote
- There are two criteria which have to be achieved for the vote to be successful: more than 50% of the number of businesses who vote have to say yes and more than 50% of the rateable value of the businesses who vote have to say yes