Newport council chief backs boost to city traders
THE leader of Newport City Council, Bob Bright, has thrown his support behind the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city.
Detailing the council’s plans to attract shoppers back to Newport city centre, Councillor Bright, said: "The council is committed to a vibrant and attractive city centre with shops and leisure attractions.
"We want to take a proactive stance and encourage shoppers into the city. This can be achieved by all traders working together and taking the initiative for this to happen."
Cllr Bright said the council was committed to working with the Chamber of Trade and traders on initiatives, including the creation of a BID.
For a BID to be set up 51% of all businesses in a defined geographical area must vote in favour of it.
If this is successful a levy on business rates is set, traditionally between 1-1.5% on all the businesses in the BID area.
That money can then be used for improvement projects traders feel will benefit the area for example employing taxi marshals to curb anti-social behaviour or to pay for extra street cleaning equipment.
At meeting at the Newport centre last week traders reacted positively to a presentation about BID and set up a steering group to look at implementing one in Newport.
Cllr Bright, said: "While work takes place on incentives to attract shoppers into the city, the longer term plan for the city centre is to create a Business Improvement District.
"A BID will take time to put together, launch and implement, which is why we are looking at initiatives in the short term.
"Where the council can, we will support initiatives by local traders which looks to introduce innovative offers to encourage shoppers back into the city centre, and back into the traders' shops. Being able to park for three hours for just £1, will give shoppers ample time to visit the many retailers across the city centre who will be participating in this scheme."