In recent years it has become clear that much more needs to be done to market Poole beyond the immediate region, and that issues of competition, safety and physical improvement need to be worked on to reinvigorate Poole and to capitalise on its many assets and position. This Plan is a response to those pressures, and YOU are a part of it.
With an historic Quayside on Europe’s largest natural harbour, the largest indoor shopping centre in Dorset and the biggest Arts Centre outside of London, all linked by a conventional High Street, Poole Town Centre has a lot to be proud of and shout about.
These superlatives though are not enough to make sure that Poole maintains a competitive edge and does not lose further market share to Bournemouth, Castlepoint, Southampton and other Dorset towns. To be able to compete with these centres and the ever increasing lure of the internet, Poole has to perform at its best and be an attractive, vibrant and safe centre for investors, employees, residents and tourists to work, relax, do business and shop.
As Chair of the current Poole Town Centre Partnership, and manager of a town centre business, I have seen much change over the past number of years. A lengthy recession, changes to consumer spending, widespread competition from the internet, and uncertainties over the future of local authority finances, have all had an impact. With an increase in the number of vacant units, a reduction in footfall figures, and a decline in the condition of the public realm, it is clear that the town has seen better days. We therefore quite simply need to do something radical to halt that slide.
I believe that only by working together and taking control as businesses, with a clear vision of what needs to be done, can we start that process. Successful BIDs in our neighbouring towns have had significant impact on their trading environments so are clear testimony that they work. This document, based on your input and ideas, sets out our plan to make that difference. If we all vote YES to make it real, we will have a fund of up to £1.65m over the 5-year lifetime of the scheme to invest in the town for everyone’s benefit. We are confident that this could be increased still further by attracting additional funding from other outside sources to enable us to deliver even more.
For any of this to become a reality we need you to vote YES in the forthcoming ballot. Without your support Poole will, at best continue as it is now, at worst decline further with more empty units and our market share being taken by our neighbours. Please join me and many of our colleagues in supporting this scheme by voting YES for Poole BID.
Jonathan Sibbett, Chairman Poole BID