The £2million business plan detailing how Tamworth can be improved as a more vibrant and welcoming place to work, shop, stay and play is now being finalised, ready for putting to the ballot in October.
The plan to create a Business Improvement District covering Tamworth town centre, the Ventura retail parks and the riverside area in between, is now entering its final phase with the creation of the key document.
It sets out how the potential budget of £2million can be spent over the next five years; delivering improvements identified by the businesses of Tamworth.
The business plan marks the culmination of months of consultation, involving 330 business visits, 120 surveys and interviews, several workshops and countless meetings and discussions to find out what the problems facing Tamworth businesses are and how they can be addressed.
All that information has been fed in to the business plan, which sets out how the potential budget of £2million can be used to deliver projects to the benefit of the whole area. The £2million is based on all businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or more, each contributing 1.25% of their rateable value to the pot each year.
The final plan will be revealed to businesses in the BID zone at a special launch event taking place at Tamworth Castle on Wednesday, September 6, from 5.30pm.
The development of a BID is being driven by a steering group of business representatives from a cross section of industries.
Steering group Chairman, Rob Holder, manager of John Lewis Tamworth, said: “This is an exciting time for businesses as it presents a great opportunity for them to take hold of the future of Tamworth and shape the town in a way which is going to benefit them. It will raise the profile of Tamworth, locally, regionally and nationally and help to re-establish some pride in what we have here.
“This is our chance to make a real difference to the town and put it on the map as a thriving area to visit, shop and do business.”
The over-riding desire for businesses from across the whole of Tamworth was to develop the town’s identity and promote the unique retail, leisure and heritage experience which Tamworth has to offer – with 78% of respondents saying that this would help their business.
Proposals within the business plan include measures to promote the town, retail parks and riverside areas as a single entity and raise its profile, locally and nationally. It includes a range of proposals including organising more events and markets, more festive lighting, floral displays and art, introducing uniformed guides to help promote the area, developing the town’s heritage appeal, working with other bodies to improve the experience of travelling and parking in the area and developing a diverse evening and night time economy.
Samantha Panton, owner of Roasters and Vice Chair of the BID Steering Group, said: “Tamworth is such a great place with an outstanding retail offer in the Ventura area, a leisure offer around the river area which includes the fantastic SnowDome and of course the castle and the heritage and specialist retail of the town. Unfortunately, we do not make the most of these things or tell people about what we have here and changing this is at the heart of the entire business plan.”
Businesses identified key priority areas for a new BID which fall into four project groups:
1. Well promoted
2. Welcoming and accessible
3. Lively and attractive
4. A great business and leisure offer
Objective 1 is about developing and promoting the strengths and characteristics of Tamworth and raising awareness of its retail, leisure and heritage experience locally, regionally and nationally. The key activities identified in the plan include the promotion of different elements of Tamworth – the town, retail parks and riverside – as one single entity.
Objective 2 aims to make Tamworth a more accessible and welcoming place for visitors, workers and residents to explore. Traffic flows around Ventura were a particular issue, along with pedestrian signage to the different areas. This initiative will also see the introduction of uniformed hosts to welcome visitors and support events across the area.
Objective 3 will see the BID supporting and managing events and markets which attract people to the town, but also ensure that businesses benefit from them. The BID also recognises that the heritage of Tamworth is something to value and will work with others to ensure that the area makes more of this.
Objective 4 aims to bring about an improvement in the range and quality of retail and leisure offer and encourage more investment into the town, to boost both the daytime and night-time economies.
If you are business within the BID zone and would like to attend the launch event on September 6, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01827 214131. More information about BID Tamworth is available at http://www.bidtamworth.co.uk.