Scheme launched in Colchester to tackle ‘unprecedented pressures’ on traders

Colchester High Street Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Colchester High Street Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

A business-led partnership which aims to provide a sustainable future for town centre traders has been launched in Colchester.

The Business Improvement District (BID), which came into effect on Monday, will run for five years and aims to tackle a range of issues to help drive footfall and attract more visitors to the town centre.

The Our Colchester BID received overwhelming support, last June, when 85 per cent of traders voted to back the proposal after a month-long ballot. Colchester Borough Council will work closely with the BID to deliver on its priorities to revitalise and rejuvenate the town centre, as well as administering the levy on businesses who pay into the scheme.

The BID business plan sets out a series of priorities to ensure the town remains competitive when attracting business and visitors, including a co-ordinated calendar of events for the year, improved streetscape, an independent business project fund, additional support for the night-time economy, and efforts to make the town centre a cleaner, safer and more welcoming place.

Cllr Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture, and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “The BID is a collaborative voice and another outstanding example of the way the council and businesses are working together to make Colchester even better.

“With the overwhelming support of the business community, the BID will help deliver a huge boost to plans to improve the town centre public realm, develop a strong business community, and fulfil our joint ambition and intention to sustain and grow visitor activity over the coming years.”

Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, added: “We know that with unprecedented pressures from online shopping, fast-changing customer tastes and tighter household budgets, town centres nationwide are having to compete harder than ever before. I’m certain the BID will be effective in providing the necessary practical solutions to begin to tackle this trend and help revitalise our town centre.

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“Under my leadership, this council will continue to work closely with local business to make Colchester an even better place to live in, to work in and to visit. Our Progressive Alliance is ensuring Colchester is open for business and, in particular, responsible business that puts something back into our town.”