BOURNEMOUTH is enjoying a rise in footfall at a time of national decline, town centre traders have been told.

The annual general meeting of Bournemouth’s Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) heard of the success of initiatives such as the Upside Down House at the Triangle and the Metropole Market.

The meeting reviewed the BID’s activities in the past year to support the growth of local businesses and make the town centre more inviting to visitors and investors.

BID chairman Martin Davies said: “We are now part way through year two of our second five-year term, having been voted in again by town centre businesses in 2017, and it is exciting to see so many of the ideas and innovations set out to our levy payers now coming to fruition.

“The AGM was a welcome opportunity to review some of the impressive and impactful work being done to make Bournemouth town centre a must-visit location.

“The upward trajectory of our footfall figures, which continue to buck the national downward trend, tell the story of the Town Centre BID’s success. We look forward to building on that over the next 12 months.”

The Metropole Market in Holdenhurst Road has been nominated for a Place Management Award in the national BID Awards.

Since the BID’s AGM, the town centre has been boosted by the arrival of festive attractions including a Christmas Tree Wonderland, which has won praise from traders and the public alike.

BIDs are funded by a levy on local businesses, which is used to improve and promote the area. Levy-paying businesses are balloted before a BID is established and at five-year intervals afterwards.

The annual meeting, open to all levy payers, welcomed two new board directors – David Squire of Yellow Buses and Ian Saul from Naked Coffee.

This year has seen the designation of new ‘business quarters’, which so far consist of the Lansdowne Quarter, Triangle Quarter, Westover Quarter, Richmond Quarter and Horseshoe Quarter. Local groups there allow businesses to shape and improve their trading environment, as well as defining their quarter’s character.

The BID has held a programme of seminars, free of charge to levy payers, on topics such as marketing, networking and making the most of Chirstmas.

Its key objectives are increasing visitors numbers, supporting growth, reducing the number of empty shops and developing the unique identity of different areas in the BID’s territory.

Its approach includes organising events, effective marketing, keeping the town centre safe and secure and making sure it is ‘clean and green’. The town centre ranger service and enhanced litter cleaning are among the initiatives established by the BID.