Traders told ‘We’re not the Council’

‘We’re not the council!’ that was the message to traders at a breakfast meeting encouraging them to have their say about making improvements to Blackburn town centre. 

Mark Smith, Exchange Coffee interim chairman of Blackburn BID (Business Improvement District) said that, whilst the BID team would be working in partnership with the regeneration team at the council, the collective pool of money totalling £1.5 million over 5 years would not be used to pay for work that the council should be doing already. 

Speaking to a group of approximately 30 business people at Liz ‘n’ Lils Mark said, ‘We need to know what baseline spending is on the areas we are looking to improve in areas like cleaning up the town centre, safety and CCTV, marketing and events. We then need to look collectively into how we can use this BID money to increase footfall all around and across some of the quieter areas.’

The meeting was the first of a series of fortnightly meetings which are open to businesses within the BID area.   Approximately 30 business people attended including Peter Jackson, Loraine Jones from Blackburn Mall, Abdul Shakoor from Tilt, representation from Santander and Barclays as well as third party organisations in the town centre; Blackburn with Darwen CVS, Age UK and East Lancashire Deaf Society.   The introductory briefing included an update on the appointment of a BID manager and the appointment of a steering committee by New Ground who are overseeing the BID project.

Mark said, ‘These meetings are about coming up with new ideas that will bring extra footfall to the town centre.  This is your opportunity to have your say and for us to work collectively together to make a real difference.’

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