Newport businesses hold early talks over BID possibility

Early discussions have taken place between retailers and representatives from Newport's Chamber of Commerce over the possibility of creating a Business Improvement District.

Jude Paton and Karen Woodcock from Newport Chamber of Commerce
Jude Paton and Karen Woodcock from Newport Chamber of Commerce

A BID works by firms paying a levy against their rateable values, enabling towns to have a dedicated town centre manager while promoting and improving the business environment.

A BID has already been successfully implemented in other Shropshire towns such as Shrewsbury and Oswestry. Bridgnorth is also in the process of putting together a plan for a BID.

Karen Woodcock, Chair of Newport Chamber of Commerce and owner of All About Newport Ltd, which helps promote the town, said: "Proposals are at very, very early stages but it's something that many feel would be a positive move.

"We discussed the prospect at our recent Chamber of Commerce meeting, where Adele Nightingale, the Oswestry BID Manager, and Sally Themans, from Love Bridgnorth, gave a presentation.

"It was good to hear views from an established BID and also thoughts over an initial feasibility study for one.

"The businesses in attendance agreed that Newport should continue to explore the possibility of becoming a BID area.”

She said one of the advantages of the scheme would be "having someone full time and dedicated" to promoting the town.

The first stage of the process is to commission a feasibility study from an independent consultant to establish the need and viability, benefit or want for businesses to be part of a BID scheme.

A decision on whether the scheme goes ahead would be purely down to the businesses.

Speaking about plans for Bridgnorth, Ms Themans said: "The BID schemes have worked successfully in other towns, but we are all very aware times are extremely stressful for businesses at the moment, so the introduction of a model that might add to financial pressures might well not be popular - it would need very careful consideration.

"That said, if there are clearly measurable and demonstrable benefits, it could really help Bridgnorth and the whole business community.”

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