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InExeter improvement district to continue

Friday, November 8th, 2019 3:23pm

By Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporting Service

The group has been voted in for another five years

Exeter businesses have overwhelmingly voted in favour of continuing the city’s Business Improvement District.

InExeter, the city’s business improvement district, will now continue until 2025 with its plans to drive footfall into Exeter and ensure a cleaner, better promoted and exciting city.

The result of the vote announced on Friday saw InExeter attract 255 of the businesses voting in favour, compared to 97 who voted against, for it to continue.

New boundaries have also been set out that see the area expand for the first time to include part of New North Road, Longbrook Street, Sidwell Street, and Magdalen Road, with a separate budget for Magdalen Road focused projects.

Exeter City Council had previously agreed to cast its votes in favour of continuing the BID, with a report before them stating there would be no other organisation that would deliver the projects and services.

Speaking after the result was announced, Ann Hunter, InExeter manager said: “I am incredibly proud of the work InExeter has achieved and pay sincere thanks to our volunteer Board of Directors for leading the BID over the last 5 years. Thank you also to the passionate team at InExeter but thank you most importantly to the business community who have voted in favour of continuing to invest in business and the city.

“This is a tremendous result and we look forward to delivering more, achieving more and supporting you more over the next 5 years.”

Patrick Cunningham, InExeter board chairman, added: “I am very pleased that the city centre businesses have seized the opportunity to continue InExeter.  I am sure the effect of this positive vote will encourage greater business collaboration, more events and activities to draw footfall and more business support initiatives.”

The key priorities that businesses wish to be continued include the marketing and promotion of Exeter businesses and events, enhancing the cleaning and cleansing programme in the city, marketing and advertising of their business across social media and publications and enhancing the appearance of the city, through dressing, hanging baskets, bunting, or Christmas lights. A visitor survey had said that 81 per cent of visitors felt that decorating the Exeter with Christmas lights was important or very important.

Among the new initiatives that the BID aims to deliver in Exeter are:

  • Activate the city centre more evenly across the calendar, delivering more events in the first half of the year, January to June to attract footfall and increase dwell time in the city
  • Invest in new Christmas experiences such as light projections
  • Run sector specific campaigns including independents and the and music economy
  • Recruit a member of staff to deliver a programme of events for the city working in close partnership with community groups, businesses and stakeholders
  • Build on enhancing the quality and experience around Christmas.
  • Invest in initiatives such as lighting schemes and directional street art to help brighten areas and attract footfall.
  • Further enhance the cleaning of the city with more regular jet washing and deep cleaning.
  • Add seasonal planting and landscaping to enhance vibrancy with a Greenery Action Plan for Exeter in partnership with stakeholders such as Exeter in Bloom.
  • Campaign for and deliver free parking evenings, Sunday car parking and at key campaign periods
  • Continue to strengthen our partnership with local police team and have a place on the Community Safety Partnership Board, Evening and nighttime economy group and Best Bar None
  • Explore options for investing in additional Police support and presence for the city centre.
  • Offer more channels of business recycling to supplement are current collections of food waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment.
  • Data and footfall to key to understanding trends and InExeter will continue to invest in footfall cameras and insight reports

Magdalen Road will run a separate budget from InExeter to deliver extended projects that include as a priority:

  • Greening and planting schemes;
  • Cycle parking stands;
  • Street decorations, light projections and dressing including Christmas decorations;
  • Wayfinding and signage;
  • Magdalen Road events, activities, festivals and markets;
  • Food waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment with glass collections to be explored;
  • Exploring options to enhance the public realm, access and travel through Magdalen Road.

Had businesses voted against the BID, projects that would cease, the business plan states, included the Christmas campaign and lighting for the city, free food waste collections or waste electrical collections, city centre management on behalf of businesses, enhanced cleansing of the city, funding towards local area events, and city dressing such as bunting, decorations or hanging baskets.

The BID term shall run from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2025, a 5-year term. The BID arrangements will commence on April 1, 2020.

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