BUSINESSES in Solihull want higher security, town rangers and better access to and from the NEC and Birmingham International Rail Station.
That’s the result of a survey which will form a proposal for the town centre’s business improvement district initiative.
A business improvement district (BID) is a partnership between businesses and the local authority to develop projects and services that benefit the trading environment and is paid for by the businesses themselves.
The six top issues will then form a business proposal for the town centre’s business improvement district initiative and will be the platform on which the campaign is based leading up to a vote among the 550 businesses in the study area early next year.
A successful BID has funding paid by the businesses in the area which can be used to improve services or projects in the town which do not overlap in any way with the services already being provided by the statutory bodies.
The BID proposal becomes the business plan on a successful ‘Yes’ vote at ballot and can mean better security, increased promotion and marketing of the area, reductions in crime, ultimately leading to a rise in the number of people coming into the area.
Sandy Grinnell, manager of the Solihull Town Centre BID, said: “We are now entering the most challenging part of the BID process and a working group has been set up to evaluate and address the issues raised by shops and businesses throughout the study area, through the extensive consultation process.
“What is key to the success of any BID is that all the businesses are wholly behind it.
“There is absolutely no reason why we cannot make that happen in Solihull.
“It’s already a terrific town and we want to add value to that by achieving BID status ”
A number of working groups have already been set up within the Solihull project with a main pre-BID board with representatives from big and small businesses throughout the borough as well as the police and the local authority.
Sandra added: “It is a challenge but one I am sure Solihull is up to.
“In the very near future we will be holding street meetings in the town to explain in-depth the full benefits of BIDs and what it means to each individual business and to give them an idea of what we really could achieve here in Solihull if we all work together”.
The full results of the survey will be revealed in the next few weeks.
We asked shoppers in Solihull what they would like to see in the town centre.
Retired musical director Ronald Marquiss from Ravenswood Road was unequivocal in his reply. “Toilets!” he said.
“There aren’t any now. A fat lot of good that is.
“And we used to have a market. That’s one of the most important things.
“If they think it’s too down market for Solihull then they don’t know Solihull.”
Nurse Lisa Holcroft said: “We should have a Pizza Express in Solihull. I’m surprised that they haven’t one. Every nice town centre you go to has one.
“It’s lovely, a more upmarket Pizza Hut. There’s one in Brindley Place and at the Law Courts – even in Richmond, Surrey.
“I think Solihull, though, is a really nice place but parking is quite expensive.”