Our Bury St Edmunds presents plans for year ahead...
Improving accessibility for disabled visitors to Bury St Edmunds town centre, the success of the town’s art trail and a major attraction for the run up to Christmas were all areas for discussion at the Business Improvement District (BID) AGM last night (Wednesday).
Representatives of member businesses joined directors and staff of Our Bury St Edmunds at the meeting in The Athenaeum to hear about what had been achieved in the last year and plans for activities into 2018.
Welcoming member businesses to the meeting Chairman Mark Daly, of Greene & Greene Solicitors, reported on a good year for the organisation adding that the profile of Bury St Edmunds ‘continued to rise.’
Our Bury St Edmunds Chief Executive Mark Cordell gave a presentation in which he spoke about plans for the BID to work closely with the Destination Management Organisation, which is being launched this year with the aim of attracting more visitors to the area. He also spoke of the good partnerships the BID has formed with other organisations, in particular the Town Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
The findings of a recent benchmarking study into how Bury St Edmunds is perceived by those who live and work in the town as well as visitors were outlined. Mark Cordell said: “The study showed that this is an attractive town in which to live and run a business. The shop vacancy rate here is 6.4% compared to 9.5% nationally and footfall is 3.6% up on last year – with June’s figures the busiest since we started keeping records.”
A question and answer session at the end of the meeting led to a discussion about how businesses can make themselves as accessible as possible for disabled customers and making Bury St Edmunds a more dementia-friendly town. Members also heard about plans for another art trail to commemorate the end of the First World War and that a major attraction for Christmas shoppers will be announced soon although there are no plans for an ice-rink this year.
Mark Cordell added: “I was very pleased to see member businesses really engaging with us at the meeting and raising matters that may not fall directly into the remit of the BID, but that we can take up with partner organisations on our members’ behalf. It’s my experience that the member businesses who interact with the BID’s activities such as the free training courses we provide and use us as an additional resource gain considerable benefit from their membership and I thank those who took the trouble to attend.”