Traders urged to vote for Weymouth BID

A CALL to action has gone out to businesses for feedback on a Weymouth town centre improvement plan.

The steering group of the Weymouth Business Improvement District (BID) want traders to tell them what their priorities are for change in the town's shopping area.

If introduced, a Weymouth BID would invest at least £250,000 a year in the town centre for five years.

The group would aim to attract grants and joint venture schemes to raise further funding.

Ideas include a week-long Spring dining out event, more active promotion of late night shopping in the run-up to Christmas, marketing campaigns exploiting niches such as walking, sailing, wildlife and seafood and themed regular year-round street markets.

Nigel Reed, chairman of the BID steering group, said: “We have recognised that the Olympics has come and gone.

“Some traders have benefitted from it and some are still recovering from it.

“We have to move on now. It's clear that we have to refocus the town centre.

“The Olympics shone a light on Weymouth and we need to give people a reason to come here and to shop here.”

The BID also plans to work with car park owners to offer incentives for motorists such as pay on exit and better signage.

The Weymouth BID will be submitting a BID application in 2013 and a campaign is under way to urge traders to vote 'yes' for the BID.

Draft project plans booklets and a further explanation of the Weymouth BID process have been sent to the 542 businesses included in the BID area Workshops have already been held and traders have said how they would like the BID budget to be divided between the five main projects identified.

These projects are: Beating Seasonality in the Tourist Industry, Improving the Customer Experience, Visitor Information, Making Weymouth a Great Night Out and BID Evaluation.

“We're trying to get across that the way people look at town centres now is different.

“We can't look at them as just shopping centres any more.”

Mr Reed has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government formally requesting a BID Ballot by the local authority on the basis that Weymouth BID Ltd will be submitting a Business Improvement District application in 2013.

This will be the first formal action taken by the Weymouth BID group in the BID application process.

Mr Reed said: “The draft plans provide more detail on the costs and projects that will support the aims of the Just 5 areas highlighted above.

“Those that have received it should read and respond as requested as it is through these plans and the comments the BID receives back that will form the basis of the final business plan which needs to be completed by February 13 2013.”

Businesses are encouraged to register their interest in the Weymouth BID by calling Mr Reed on 07557 142906 or emailing info@weymouthbid.co.uk.

More information is available at www.weymouthbid.co.uk Follow the BID on Twitter at @WeymouthBID or at www.facebook.com/WeymouthBID

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