Norwich BID presents new five-year vision to enhance visitors’ city centre experience
- Credit: Nick Butcher
After leading the charge to enhance the city centre since 2012, Norwich Business Improvement District has laid out its new five-year plan – but needs business' support to enact it.
Sprucing up the city's gateways, 'animating' the River Wensum and a bigger Christmas lights display are among the elements of a £5.7m blueprint to enhance Norwich's appeal as a commercial and leisure hotspot.
Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) has issued a call to arms for businesses to back its new five-year plan in a vote which will determine whether it gets the go-ahead for a second term.
Goals within its three areas of focus – promotion, visitor experience and business concerns – include securing Purple Flag accreditation for evening and night time economy hubs like Prince of Wales Road, lobbying Norfolk County Council for highways improvements including to the city ring road, and continuing the successful VisitNorwich app and the City Hosts scheme.
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Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID, said: 'The principle remains the same, which is to make a really positive impact on the working and trading environment in Norwich.
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'We have worked on activities in the last five years that have given us a good base to continue the BID's work.
'But if we don't get the vote, all these opportunities will be lost.'
The new Norwich BID plan, launched today, will cover an area more than twice the size of the previous five-year plan, following the ring road from County Hall to Anglia Square and St Stephens Street to Kett's Hill.
As well as longer-term projects, the BID will work on seasonal initiatives including a campaign to maximise trade during the low season and busy periods such as the City of Ale and Food and Drink Festival.
It also plans to extend the city centre Christmas lights, which along with the Tunnel of Light and Castle projections saw it named one of the top five places to visit in the festive period in 2016.
Mr Gurney said: 'It was great to have Norwich considered as a national lead on something.'
Another aim is to improve the appearance of the city 'gateways' of St Stephens Street and Prince of Wales Road. 'When you step off the train or drive in down the A11 you want to see something that is a positive representation of the city,' Mr Gurney said.
'The businesses on Prince of Wales Road are passionate about what they do and want to change the negative perceptions.'
The River Wensum also features in the plan, with the BID wishing to make it a focal point in the city as the River Cam is in Cambridge. Mr Gurney said dialogues have been started with property owners along the riverside to make it more publicly accessible.
Businesses will have the chance to vote on the Norwich BID's proposals between June 30 and July 27. If successful, the second BID term will begin in November.