‘It is time to fall back in love with our city’

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A businessman has said a new alliance of traders and companies is determined to make people “fall back in love with the city” by making the most of what it has to offer.

David Owens, who runs Wakefield Beer Exchange, is the chairman of a steering group looking to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city centre.

The BID would cover the city centre.

The BID would cover the city centre.

The BID would enable businesses to raise money for projects to improve the area, helping to boost tourism and retail, commercial and entertainment opportunities.

Mr Owens said: “We have a chance to do some very radical things and make people see Wakefield differently but we have to work collaboratively if we are going to succeed.

“Every business in the BID area shares common aims. We all want to boost marketing to attract more visitors, create a welcoming environment to encourage people to stay in Wakefield longer, make it easy for them to sample a variety of its business offer, tackle the anti-social behaviour that stops people from visiting the city centre and to speak up about our ideas for improvements with a single voice.

“The BID can help Wakefield become known as an attractive city centre that has a great shopping experience and a quality driven evening and night economy.

“Central businesses will be more successful and the city will become more appealing as a residential location and place of employment, improving footfall and recruitment base.”

Proposals for the BID will be launched in the near future. And businesses in the area will be able to vote on the plan in February. It needs the support of 50 per cent of eligible business to be implemented.

Mr Owens said: “We’re all in this city centre to build business and we need to appreciate how attracting new visitors to any business sector will have a positive knock-on effect and we will all feel the benefit of the ripple.”