28th May, 2018

Plans for Shirley BID projects announced

Sarah Mason 12th Feb, 2018

STREET markets, improved Christmas lights and better promotion to help the local economy on the Stratford Road corridor – these are just some of the schemes looked set to go ahead under the Shirley Business Improvement District (BID).

A year-long consultation process has been held with Shirley businesses and organisations to establish the priorities for the BID if the organisation is implemented following a ballot in May 2018.

The consultation process attracted over 150 responses from a BID area likely to consist of approximately 250 businesses and helped establish a list of 15 projects the BID should prioritise.

The BID will also work with partner organisations to help maintain street paving and improve car park facilities as part of its Business Plan to boost the area.

Shirley BID’s proposals recently took a step forward with the prioritisation of the main projects being considered and were announced by the BID’s Shadow Board, Chaired by Sandra Grice, Community Life Champion at ASDA Shirley.

Ms Grice said: “We are still encouraging the views of businesses on what will ultimately be adopted within the Business Plan, so please get in touch to register your views.

“The BID will support our many independent businesses in every way possible, by raising their profile and by strengthening the area’s relationship with key organisations for investment, promotion and infrastructure works.

“It is our ambition to develop a comprehensive programme of new street entertainment to cover different areas of the Stratford Road corridor at different trading periods with an annual calendar of street markets and investment to improve the Christmas light displays.”

A BID is a business-led and business-funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area and there are more than 280 BIDs already operating across the UK including one in Solihull.

BIDs are governed by the businesses who represent the BID area, which would mean that local business people have a genuine voice to decide and direct what they want for Shirley.

The Shirley BID priorities include:

1. Develop marketing campaigns to highlight the strengths of Shirley, to include promoting events, food & drink venues, the retail offer, independent businesses and key trading periods

2. Carry out market research to identify how local people and visitors think the town could be improved and to identify potential new visitor sources

3. Work with partners to develop and deliver campaigns to encourage new businesses into Shirley

4. Develop at least two major new town centre events, with business suggestions being sought on the themes for these

5. Make ongoing investments to improve the Christmas light displays

6. Enact a number of initiatives to support independent businesses in the town

7. Foster close and collaborative relationships with local organisations, including the Council, the Chamber, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Combined Authority

8. Create targeted promotions to increase footfall during currently quieter trading periods

9. Work with partner organisations to improve street paving maintenance

10. Lobby for improvements to existing car park facilities and the introduction of parking meters where required

11. Oversee targeted social media campaigns to draw significantly more people into the town centre

12. Create high-quality town centre branding and imagery to support a series of year-round promotions targeted at key audiences and catchments

13. Develop and lead a system of business championing and representation to lobby for further improvements to, and investment in, the town centre

14. Oversee the introduction of vinyl transfers and other measures to improve the appearance of long-term empty units

15. Introduce an annual calendar of street markets

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