Retailers and business owners from across the Poole Business Improvement District (BID) area gathered at the Dolphin Shopping Centre for the launch of the draft BID Proposal .
During the evening BID organiser Poole Town Centre Partnership presented the draft proposals for the BID and gave attendees the opportunity to have their say on the proposed plan.
Currently, businesses in Poole face significant challenges, including competition from retailers and organisations in other nearby towns as well the ever increasing threat of online shopping. The team behind Poole’s proposed BID want to put the town back on the map by making it a destination to visit, as well as somewhere that people want to come and spend both their time and money.
The recent BID Proposal launch event was opened by Jonathan Sibbett, chairman of Poole Town Centre Partnership board. The plan has been drafted following an extensive consultation process through meetings, events and face-to-face discussions and questionnaire surveys, giving local businesses the chance to really make their mark and have their say on how to make Poole flourish once more over the next five years.
Jonathan introduced the Poole BID plan by outlining the key findings from consultations with the retailers. This was then followed by other key board members, who each discussed a different element of the proposal, including:
- Marketing and Events – a proposed 5 year investment of around £500,000
- A planned marketing strategy for the town with a series of small events as well as an annual high profile landmark event to attract visitors from across the region
- LED screens by the railway line, providing an opportunity to publicise Poole and the businesses within the BID area, with a news and weather feed, and the chance for BID members to advertise their special offers and promotions
- Suggested free Wi-Fi within Poole High Street
- Poole experience – a proposed 5 year investment of £550,000
- Conduct a comprehensive survey in year one of the proposed BID to highlight what areas need improving and to remove the street clutter
- Work to fill the empty shop units to create a buzz and vibrancy
- Introduce areas for people to sit, to entice workers out of their offices and to connect with the town centre
- Improve communication between the Borough of Poole and businesses within the town centre to ensure everyone is working together
- Security and safety – a proposed 5 year investment of £125,000
- Look to employ a BID ambassador to ensure all activity in the town is regulated and customers are welcomed to the town
- Supporting business – a proposed 5 year investment of £37,000
- Use collective buying power of all businesses within the BID areas to save money
- To ensure the business voice is heard.
The evening also gave representatives from the scheme the chance to remind people that this BID is for them. By using the influence of 500 businesses in the outlined BID area – including the Quay, High Street, Dolphin Shopping Centre and all streets within these locations – there is strength in numbers.
Helen Challis, partner of Quay Holidays and Quay Living, said: “Whether you are a small independent business or a huge multi-national corporation you are all important to the future of Poole; you all have opinions and we need to hear from you. The BID steering group has already listened to the ideas and opinions of a significant number of people connected with the town, and all of these ideas and comments have been used to formulate the draft plan. We think we’ve reflected all of this feedback accurately, but we really need final input from people to ensure we get it right.
“The BID is a fantastic opportunity, happening right now, with the potential to make a real difference. Local authorities have many calls on their limited resources, which have to be prioritised. By contrast, BID funding provides direct money, specifically applied to address the issues we have all identified. The BID would offer a voice and an opportunity for businesses to shape their communal future.”
Jonathan Sibbett added: “It was very exciting to see that the feedback from the evening was very positive. The next step is to gather all the opinions and responses that we have received and incorporate them within the final BID business plan. To make sure it truly reflects the objectives of businesses within the BID areas, we will be moving the ballot date back to allow us the time to assess all the feedback properly. We will announce the new date for the ballot shortly.”
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