More city centre businesses are set to be represented by the Go Forth Stirling team as the organisation expands the BID zone.
The zone will be extended to take in Cowane Street, Albert Place and Wallace Street bringing well-known local businesses Tesco and the Smith Art Gallery and Museum into the BID (Business Improvement District).
The move means more business owners have the chance to benefit from Go Forth’s projects and initiatives such as the team of street Ambassadors and the shopfront grant scheme. Danielle McRorie-Smith, Project Director at Go Forth Stirling, said the Board felt it was important to see the type of city centre improvements and representation provided by the BID stretch further geographically.
She said: “In our view, the city centre area doesn’t start at Barnton Street – it needs to take in the streets which people use when coming into the city and which are where they often receive their first impressions of Stirling. Cowane Street, for example, is a major tourist asset which houses the Cowane Centre and it is important for the area to be part of the BID and benefit from our efforts.
The same goes for the Smith Art Gallery and Museum which is why we are also extending the zone along Albert Place. It doesn’t work to focus on critical issues such as street lighting, cleanliness, safety and waste improvements if you then stop once you get to the end of Barnton Street.
We want more businesses to be included and to ensure Cowane Street and Wallace Street are not forgotten. We want to concentrate our efforts there too and extend the number of streets which our ambassadors patrol so they can report back on any issues affecting this important part of our town. It also means more businesses will be eligible to apply for grants to improve their shopfronts or develop their online activities and to become members of the Retailers Against Crime scheme which we subsidise.”
Go Forth Stirling is currently preparing for re-election and the zone will be expanded from September should the organisation be successful in securing a second five-year term. It will extend to take in Wallace Street, Douglas Street, Cowane Street and the whole of Albert Place adding seven new levy-paying businesses to the companies already represented by the BID.
Steve Fettes, who runs tabletop gaming venue Common Ground Games in Cowane Street, is looking forward to being part of the BID. He welcomes the opportunity to be represented by Go Forth as well as benefit from projects such as the grant funding schemes.
He said: “It makes sense for Stirling businesses to have an organisation whocan advocate on our behalf as a group rather than everyone doing that individually. I think one of the main advantages of being part of a BID is having an advocate who can support us when there is an issue which affects us all.
We are harder to ignore as a group and it’s helpful to be represented by someone who already has the necessary contacts to navigate bureaucracy. I am confident about the work being done by the BID and glad to see Cowane Street added to the zone. It will give the businesses here a sense of inclusion and the feeling that we are an important part of the city centre too.”
All city centre business owners, including those who will be part of the expanded zone, have been contacted to take part in a business engagement survey launched by the BID which asks stakeholders to contribute their ‘Big Ideas’ for Stirling.
The survey aims to assess what projects and initiatives are most needed and the results will help shape Go Forth’s forthcoming business plan for 2022-27. The company begins to re-ballot members in May with the results available in early July.
A successful renewal ballot will allow the BID to continue funding current projects, such as free Wi-Fi in the city centre, as well as developing new initiatives to support the business community. The Go Forth team currently represents around 600 business owners with a key objective of increasing visitors to the city and devising initiatives to help make it a more welcoming destination for businesses and shoppers.