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Backing for Norwich city centre boost

Stefan Gurney, city centre manager.

Stefan Gurney, city centre manager.

copyright of Archant 2009; 01603 772434

More than 200 businesses and organisations across Norwich have had their say on how to make the city centre a better place for shoppers, tourists and workers.

As reported in the Evening News, a questionnaire has been sent to more than 1,000 businesses asking them to have their say on what improvements they would like to see made to the heart of the city.

As part of that questionnaire, businesses and organisations have been asked by the Norwich City Centre Partnership whether they would support the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city centre.

Businesses in that district would contribute an amount based on their rateable value – probably 1pc – which would go into a pot which could be used to make improvements.

But before a BID can get off the ground, it has to get at least 50pc of votes in both votes cast and rateable value of votes cast – which protects the interests of both small and large organisations.

If a Norwich BID is set up, it would be up to a board, made up of business bosses, to decide how to spend the money, which could be about £600,000 a year – and even more if other funding streams can be unlocked.

Depending on what businesses want, money could be used for a projects, such as making the city centre safer and cleaner, extra promotion of what Norwich has to offer or a series of new festivals and events.

Stefan Gurney, Norwich’s city centre manager, said about 200 organisations had returned their questionnaires so far, and reminded the others that the deadline is at the end of the week.
He said: “The responses have come from a wide selection of varied businesses. We’ve heard from banks, retailers, solicitors, theatres - a wide spectrum.

“We’ve had a lot of positive responses from businesses saying that this is a real opportunity which could support what the city already has to offer.

“It’s a response of about 20pc which we’re pretty pleased with, but we would still like to hear from more business and organisations before the deadline at the end of the week.”

The deadline for responses is Friday (August 26). Further details on the questionnaire and the Norwich BID are available by visiting www.norwichbid.co.uk

• Do you have a business story? Call business editor Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk

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