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Businesses aiming to launch a £1million investment into Lichfield say the are finally having the chance to take a greater stake in the future of the city centre.
Plans for a new business improvement district (BID) have been unveiled.
The scheme would see companies put money into a pot to be re-invested in projects to boost city centre trade.
More than 500 businesses will vote on the proposals – which organisers say could generate more than £1million over five years – during July.
Simon Lumb, owner of Friary Shoes, believes the new initiative works because it will be driven by the very organisations which will benefit from it.
“The best thing about the BID is that it is entirely business-led,” he said. “It’s all about us working together and taking control of our own future. It’s not council-led or controlled by anyone else but city businesses.
“If we want to improve our city, I believe this is our best ever chance to do that.
“We regularly talk about wanting to be more in control of the city and the BID is the way to achieve this.”
Around 20 projects have already been identified should the vote go the way of the BID team, including free wi-fi across the city centre, an improved Christmas festival and the introduction of night angels.
Paul Maddox, chairman of the BID team and owner of The Scales and the Three Spires Coffee Shop, also believes businesses will relish the chance to take ownership of the way the city centre is developed.
“This is business led and has nothing to do with the council,” he said. “The money generated – more than £1m over five years – will be invested back into the city and spent by businesses who say what they want.
“We can spend it on things to get people back into the city.
“I’m more than sure it will go ahead. Everyone is so enthusiastic about it.”