A POTENTIAL business improvement district (BID) in Newport continues to gather pace, after a positive meeting of more than 80 people.
A wide range of city centre businesses, including solicitors, estate agents, market traders and publicans were at Breeze on Cambrian Road on Thursday night to take part in a workshop looking at what they would want from a Newport BID.
But the chairman of Newport BID’s steering group and president of the chamber of trade, Alan Edwards, said he was worried the idea could lose momentum as they wait to find out if they have been successful in securing Welsh Government funding to help employ consultants and pay for the necessary ballot.
A BID is created following a vote of all the businesses in a defined geographical area and there must be at least 51% support for it.
The businesses are levied at various rates dependent on size to provide funds for the BID, which is now a company.
BID’s in other parts of the UK have been able to reduce parking fees, employ taxi marshals and pay for events and marketing campaigns, as well as form a larger lobbying voice. Those attending split into groups to discuss a Newport BIDs objectives.
Reporting back from his group, Kingsway shopping centre manager Michael Hine said: "Newport has lost it’s soul of the last 40 years and we need to look at how to get it back."
Mr Hine suggested that putting pressure on to try and change things like the council’s local development plan to try and discourage more shops moving to Spytty would be one idea.
Other ideas ranged from the more radical, like a Welsh fashion week to things like more, smaller car parks.
Addressing the meeting, Cllr Ken Critchley, cabinet member for infrastructure called on business people to "take control of the bus and drive the blinking thing to a destination you want to go to."
Mr Edwards said they were still waiting to hear back from the Welsh Government and that the council and Newport Unlimited were in regular contact with the Assembly.
But he was concerned the project might lose momentum.
Cllr Miqdad Al-Nuaimi, another at the meeting said: "We must lobby our AMs to try and secure this funding."