An initiative to rejuvenate and transform Barrow’s town centre has been launched today. Barrow BID (Business Improvement District) is a private sector initiative that aims to resurrect Barrow’s declining high street by giving business owners in the town a chance to take control of their future.
The business community have been asked to vote on accepting the initiative which involves business owners paying a small levy to carry out work on problem areas identified in a survey conducted earlier this year.
The 5 main areas of concern that have been highlighted by traders are:
Marketing & Promotion
To market and promote Barrow as a sub-regional service centre and shopping destination offering distinctive choice of shops, festivals & events, as well as some of the best entertainment, leisure and recreation in Cumbria.
To make access to Barrow town centre easier and more attractive for residents, visitors and workers throughout the day.
Filling empty premises
To take pride in Barrow, filling empty units with new or expanding businesses and growing the town’s offering.
Boosting Barrow’s night time economy
To establish Barrow town centre’s evening and night-time economy as a welcoming, safe environment for people of all ages to enjoy food, drink and entertainment.
Building an effective business partnership
To build, through the BID, an effective partnership between the town’s businesses, organisations and local authorities for the benefit of Barrow’s businesses and wider community.
There are 450 businesses that will be able to vote in favour of the proposals. As mentioned, there will be a small levy to pay (which equates to 1.5% of the rateable value of the business property) meaning that over a 5 year period a potential £800,000 could be raised to tackle the key aims and issues facing the town.
Businesses will receive their ballot papers next week (March 24th) and they have 28 days to vote.
These are exciting times for Barrow, can the high street be brought back to life and thrive once more? It’s in the hands of the business owners in the town now. Personally we hope they vote in favour and can then start the task of rebuilding the town’s reputation and overall appeal.