CAR parking discounts, improving the appearance of empty shops, and encouraging major events are among proposals to revamp Christchurch town centre.
The Christchurch Business Improvement District (BID) group has unveiled plans which it says could help rejuvenate the town and bring new visitors, benefiting businesses that have been hit by Covid-19.
Among other ideas put forward are projects to encourage investment into the town, more parking spaces, a social media campaign to promote Christchurch, and floral planting or landscaping to make it more attractive.
The BID organisation, which is hoping to go operational next July, would also like to see a visitor website, a form of business-to-business communication, town centre wifi for visitors, and improvements to paving and street furniture.
More town centre events should be promoted with Christmas being an especially important time of year for them to be held.
A BID is a business-led and business-funded body to improve a specific commercial area. Businesses pay a levy and the board is made up of people who represent the area, including community organisations as well as commercial owners.
A spokesman said: “We will be refining the proposed BID projects based on further feedback from businesses over the coming weeks and will be pulling together all of the proposed improvements within a draft business plan which will be subject to further consultation.
“Please therefore get in touch if you think that anything is missing from this initial list of projects.”
The initial Christchurch BID was suspended in March but has now resumed. The ideas are a result of 85 survey responses and feedback at three open events held earlier in the year.
BID has just released the development phase of its plans which it said “could have significant positive benefits for businesses and create a new way of providing support at a crucial time for the High Street”.
Made up of around 300 businesses, BID leaders say it would generate approximately £120,000-£140,000 per year which would also be supplemented by contributions from businesses outside the town centre.
It would operate for five years resulting in around £650,000 of improvements to Christchurch.
According to BID, the survey showed 88% of businesses supported it. It will now refine the proposed projects based on further feedback over the next few weeks.
A draft business plan will be created, and people who think something has been missed from the initial set of proposals are encouraged to get in touch.
Among the groups taking part are Castles Home Hardware, Christchurch library, Simpson, Frettens solicitors, Kimmeridge Fashion, Mathews Shoes, Reign Jewellers, Soho, Studio 56 Hair Salon, The Captains Club, the Christchurch Confectioner & Gin Shop, Waitrose and Yellow Buses.
It is hoped the business plan will be launched in January 2021. There will be a vote with the result announced in April. BID will then begin operating in July 2021.
To find out more visit www.christchurchbid.co.uk.