A GROUP dedicated to breathing new life into Chester city centre has appointed a vice-chairman.
Eryl Edwards, manager of Primark in Chester, will take up the role with the CH1 Chester Business Improvement District (BID) Company, which wants to reinvigorate the city centre.
The CH1 Chester BID Company is a group of influential Chester businesses working together on an initiative to raise millions of pounds to fund wide-ranging improvements in the city.
The role will involve supporting board chairman Paul Daniels, who is managing director of thebestofchester, and bridging the gap between the board and businesses in the BID area.
Primark has previously supported successful BIDs in other towns and cities, including Liverpool, and this vote of confidence from an established franchise is seen as a giant step forward for the CH1 Chester BID Company.
Mr Edwards said: “What I see when I look at the city is masses of potential.
“People talk about the decline of the city and make comparisons with large shopping centres, but Chester has unique appeal, which will always be there.
“The problem is that the city hasn’t capitalised on it in recent times.
“The small independent businesses are integral to the fabric of the city centre but many struggle to thrive in the current economic climate because they haven’t got the resources or influence to effectively compete in terms of marketing and costs.
“What the CH1 Chester BID aims to do is bring together the businesses in the defined BID area to maximise the collective power we have and take control of the commercial environment we are all working in.
“The power of having large businesses such as Primark and Marks and Spencer backing the BID is beneficial to all the businesses in the area.
“The small businesses have powerful allies who can give them a voice, while we can combine our knowledge and influence to make sure we are all running our businesses as effectively as possible.”
In June, businesses within a designated area of Chester city centre will be asked to vote on whether or not to pay a 1 per cent levy on top of their business rates, which will go back into the city to make the improvements businesses agree are needed.
Mr Edwards added: “I urge all businesses in the BID area to weigh up the cost of doing nothing, against making a contribution to an initiative which will generate a significant amount of money to be invested into the city, helping to increase footfall and profitability.
“A ‘Yes’ vote to a BID in Chester will help the city realise its’ potential, putting it back where it belongs as a destination for shopping and culture.”
For more information about CH1 Chester BID Company and the plans for a BID in Chester, visit www.ch1chesterbid.co.uk
See full story in the Chester Leader