Shoppers could get access to free wi-fi across Lichfield city centre if businesses back a new proposal. Plans to create a business improvement district (BID) will be voted on by companies in July. The initiative will see firms put the equivalent of 1.5% of their annual rateable value into a pot earmarked for projects to drive new business. Organisers say the BID could generate around £1million over five years to boost trade in the city centre. Chairman of the BID project, Paul Maddox, said a number of ideas were already on the table – and insisted that widespread digital connectivity will help put Lichfield on the map. “This will be a first for Staffordshire as we introduce free wi-fi across the whole of the city centre,” he said. “It will mean people can come into the city, sit on a bench and log straight on. “We’ve got 20 projects at the moment that we’re looking to introduce. They are mainly aimed at generating extra footfall and attracting new businesses into Lichfield.” Among the other initiatives on the table are a new Christmas event and boosting the Lichfield Food Festival. Ideas are also in the pipeline to boost both the day and night-time economy. Mr Maddox – who owns both The Scales and the Three Spires Coffee Shop – explained: “We plan to introduce ‘Night Angels’ to help people get taxis and help people around the city. “Most businesses will also benefit from a free radio system to keep them in contact with CCTV control and the police.” A number of companies have already backed the BID initiative, but the vote – which runs between July 2 and 30 – will require a majority to back it for the scheme to go ahead. Mr Maddox said that half of the city’s businesses will end up paying £250 a year or less to join the scheme. “After speaking to a lot of business owners in Lichfield I’m positive it’s going to happen. “There are one or two who are against it, but that’s quite normal – most businesses we’ve spoken to are pro-BID.” The BID business plan – which will be voted on by more than 500 companies in the city – is available now to download.