People, Places, Business

A successful BID for Neath

A successful BID for Neath

Neath Port Talbot Council has been successful in securing Welsh Government funding to develop plans for a Business Improvement District (BID) in Neath Town Centre.

Once established, a BID delivers a sustainable financial model to a defined geographical area where businesses have voted to invest collectively in local improvements, in addition to those delivered by statutory authorities.

Bringing together local businesses and other partners, BID's have proved to be an effective structure for improving the trading environments and profitability of towns and cities around the world. Used in areas as diverse as Merthyr Tydfil and Manhatten, BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the commercial sector by means of a BID levy to fund physical environmental enhancements.

The findings from an initial scoping study indicated a number of issues for a potential BID to such as improving gateways into the town, looking at parking options and promoting Neath as a distinctive visitor destination that is safe during the day and night.

The £25,000 funding award will be used to appoint a consultant to work with the local business community and Neath Port Talbot Council to develop the BID concept, aims, vision and outline an implementation strategy. The consultant will guide and advise the local partnership and provide the necessary support to give the prospective BID the best possible chance for success.

Following their appointment, expected to be within the next month, the consultants will immediately begin the work necessary to make the decision on whether the BID proposal will be progressed to a formal delivery stage. At this stage the local authority, on behalf of the local BID group, will report to the Welsh Government on the decision and the reasons behind it.

The Welsh Government is supporting the development of additional BIDs in Wales as part of its commitment to encourage economic development and to deliver its new regeneration framework, Vibrant and Viable Places.

Welcoming the announcement Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, Cllr Ali Thomas, said: "The award of this funding will allow the local authority and the Neath business community to work together more effectively towards our shared vision for a vibrant and sustainable town centre. The creation of a Business Improvement District would strengthen the regeneration work already under way in the town and help to deliver lasting benefits to businesses, residents and visitors".

"High streets up and down the country are facing a challenging trading environment and Neath is no exception, but despite this the town boasts one of the lowest vacancy rates in the region. Establishing a BID will enable Neath to build further on its many strengths".