Towards a multi-purpose town centre
Published 00:00 on 15 May 2019
Once protected by our privileged position, Chichester's shopping streets are now showing signs of the changes that have been sweeping the world since the arrival of the smart phone. Shops are finding it difficult to make ends meet as consumers abandon bricks and mortar but rents and government taxation levels
fail to take into account the resulting fall in their revenues.
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have become the fashionable option for local government to share the load of city centre management with the private sector. Because they sit in a position of leadership in the middle of this situation as the most visible agents of change, citizens, traders and the public authorities have great expectations of their BIDs.
However change management is a tricky call, because people want leadership but expect their individual problem to be sorted out first. With just one full-time and two part-time staff, and a bunch of volunteer company directors – all working with commendable loyalty to the wishes of the levy payers – there are just not enough people at the Chichester BID to do that. Collective action is the answer, and priority is given to support and work with willing partners.
Chichester BID is a wholly private sector not for-profit-body which maintains good relations with the police and the city, district and county councils to tirelessly monitor the streets. We also house the CCCI, and co-fund Visit Chichester to drive visitor footfall, as our core private sector partners.
When you are paying a compulsory tax off your bottom line it is natural for levy payers to get interested in how that is being spent, and the BID team has been commended for the partnership introduction of the City Rangers, the 2018 Christmas lights and the increasing cleanliness of the streets. In the pipeline is a summer campaign to promote the city's assets, particularly our independent traders.
As a colleague of the public sector, Chichester BID is assisting in the rollout of the Chichester Vision and last year raised some 30% more inward investment additional to the levy. Further amounts are now lined up for a major revamp of
the public realm, as we all move the city towards meeting consumer demands for their shopping experience to be part of a much-improved visitor offer.
Colin Hicks, Chairman, Chichester BID
Last updated 09:14 on 3 March 2021