Middlesbrough town centre is facing an exciting future thanks to two exciting developments announced today.
The town has received a £100,000 boost from the Government to support retail start-up businesses and bring back to life empty shops.
The cash for Middlesbrough was announced by the Government as it accepted almost all the recommendations put forward by Mary Portas in her review of the future of High Streets.
Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, welcomed the Government’s confidence in Middlesbrough town centre as a place of innovation and ideas.
He said: “We very much welcome this funding to help Middlesbrough’s town centre.
“We are waiting further details on exactly how we can spend the money but we are fortunate in Middlesbrough to have businesses and people with the ideas, passion and energy to make the town centre an even better destination for shoppers.”
In another major development the Middlesbrough Town Centre Partnership has agreed to formally request Middlesbrough Council to hold a ballot on whether to introduce a Business Improvement District (BID).
Business Improvement Districts have been successful in more than 100 towns and cities in the UK to help breath new economic and community life back into shopping and business areas.
They work by businesses in the BID area contributing a levy which is pooled and re-invested back into improving the area.
Father Glynn Holland, chairman of the Town Centre Partnership, said: “The recommendation by the Town Centre Partnership to proceed to a ballot for a BID in Middlesbrough comes at the end of an extensive consultation exercise and a considerable amount of discussion.
“It is now up to the businesses in the town centre to decide through their vote if they want a BID in Middlesbrough.”
Postal ballot papers will be issued on May 2 with the ballot day being May 30, a result will be declared the following day.
The Middlesbrough BID is based on:
• Improving customer experience in the town centre
• Building town centre loyalty
• Expanding the customer base
• Exploring the potential to reduce business costs
The Middlesbrough proposal is on the basis of a 1.2% levy.
Councillor Rooney said: “We know our town centre is very popular with shoppers but we also know we can’t afford to stand-still and are determined to make the town centre even better in the future.
“Becoming a Business Improvement District will be a significant step in making that vision become a reality.”
Alan Weston, town centre manager, said: “This is a very exciting day for Middlesbrough town centre.
“We talk every day with retailers and businesses and know there is the enthusiasm and passion there to help the town centre become an even better destination and attract more shoppers, visitors and workers to the town centre.
“This is the reason we’re going to ballot town centre businesses about the proposed Business Improvement District.
“Mary Portas is a strong believer in the BID model and many of our town centre businesses also see the potential of Middlesbrough becoming a BID.”
Middlesbrough also today submitted its bid to become a Portas Pilot Town and win a share of a further £1m of funding as part of the Portas Review.
For more on the Middlesbrough BID visit: www.middlesbroughbid.co.uk