City pride, city promotion and city voice – those are the priorities at the heart of Sunderland BID’s new business plan.
In November eligible businesses from across the city will be able to vote to return Sunderland Business Improvement District for another five years – ring fencing an investment of around £3m.
And last night (Sept 20) the BID unveiled its vision to have a vibrant city centre, creating opportunities for everyone by improving the city’s profile, tackling some of the issues it faces and helping to secure its future economic prosperity.
The plan was created following extensive consultation with city centre levy payers, with three main themes to help drive the future – building pride in the city, promoting it to residents, businesses and visitors and giving its businesses a voice.
Building on the foundations laid by Sunderland BID in its first term is absolutely key and initiatives such as the introduction of street rangers who can rapidly respond to cleaning and maintenance issues, is crucial.
They also plan to work with absentee landlords, agents and investors to bring empty spaces back to life, look at innovative ways to improve the look of tired and neglected buildings and to continue with initiatives like Clean Sweep, which improve the look of the city.
They will also continue with successful initiatives such as Restaurant Week – held twice yearly – and continue to develop other high profile and relevant events, such as the FanZone.
Creating an exciting, year-round programme of events across the city centre is also a vital part of the plan.
And, on a broader level, Sunderland BID plans to continue to lobby local and national Government on issues which affect local businesses and work with other organisations to find ways to reduce business costs, and to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
“We are very excited to launch our new plan,” said Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID.
“With the ever-changing environment on the high street it is a really important time for the city. We need to be able to harness all of the opportunities that will arise as things change and maximise the investment that is being brought into the city.”
“We will only do this if we do continue to work in partnership with our levy payers and the other businesses in the city centre.
“We want the next term to be as collaborative as the first so that we can all work together for the same aim; to have a vibrant, prosperous city centre, of which we can all be proud.”
The business plan outlines that voting “yes” will secure a ring-fenced investment of around £3m for the city centre and, “if the BID goes there is absolutely nothing that will replace it,” said Sharon.
“So, we are hoping city centre businesses will vote yes and ensure that we can continue to help Sunderland thrive.”
The full business plan can be viewed at the BID’s website on www.sunderlandbid.co.uk