Barrow BID Strategy Background
In the BID Proposal, we said that we would deliver on five key objectives:
- To market and promote Barrow as a sub-regional service centre and shopping destination offering distinctive choice of shops, festivals and events, as well as some of the best entertainment, leisure and recreation in Cumbria.
- To make access to Barrow town centre easier and more attractive for residents, visitors and workers throughout the day.
- To take pride in Barrow, filling empty units with new or expanding businesses and growing the town’s offer.
- To establish Barrow town centre’s evening and night time economy as a welcoming, safe environment for people of all ages to enjoy food, drink and entertainment.
- To build, through the BID, an effective partnership between the town’s businesses, organisations and local authorities for the benefit of Barrow’s business and wider community.
These would be implemented by a Programme for Improvement that includes projects and activities designed to meet these five objectives. These were summarised as:
- A comprehensive multi-media campaign to publicise and promote the shops and services in Barrow town centre.
- A package of offers and incentives to make Barrow town centre an easier, more accessible place to visit.
- Improvements to the appearance of the town centre, filling vacant premises and extending the town centre’s retail and services offer.
- Promotion of a welcoming, safe and accessible town centre in the evenings.
These in turn were grouped into our four ‘B’s:
- Better Brand and Promotion – BETTER BARROW
- Busier Shops and Services – BUSIER BARROW
- Brighter Streets and Buildings – BRIGHTER BARROW
- Boost the Evening Economy – BOOSTING BARROW
Each of these was further broken down into a series of Projects so, dealing with each of the four ‘B’s in order:
Project 1: A Barrow Town Centre Brand – Love Barrow Town Centre
Commission work to create a distinctive identity and brand for Barrow town centre – this is separate to the BID’s own brand. To potentially become more involved in the Love Barrow Awards, perhaps as a category sponsor (new category: Town Centre Employee of the Year?).
Project 2: Barrow Online
Commission the design, build and maintenance of a consumer website and dedicated town centre App, including a directory of shops, services and live promotions, incentives, discount vouchers etc.
Project 3: Digital Marketing Strategy
Commission the preparation and implementation of a co-ordinated social media campaign including promotions, incentives and discounts, to make Barrow more appealing to customers and visitors.
Project 4: Festival and Events
A modest budget to sponsor specific events where these have potential to deliver commercial benefits to BID members and raise the public profile of Barrow town centre.
Project 1: Car Parking Incentives
Barrow BID will incentivise people to visit and use the town centre through the delivery of car parking promotions and incentives that will raise awareness of the parking options and, in partnership with Barrow Borough Council, offer discounts to the standard ticket charges, such as ‘buy one hour, get one free’ or ‘free after three’. To also look at potential of ‘pay on exit’ or ‘double ticketing’.
Project 2: Improve Bus and Rail Connections to the Town Centre
Barrow BID will also incentivise people to visit and use the town centre wherever possible by promoting greater patronage of public transport into the town centre through promotions and incentives, in partnership with bus and/or rail operating companies. This also includes projects relating to road signage.
Project 1: Pride in Barrow
Establish ‘Love Barrow Town Centre’ initiative between key stakeholders in the town, including Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria County Council, our MP and the NWEM. This will involve a number of key projects (both leading and sponsoring) and activities that contribute to brightening up the town centre with a view to entering the Great British High Streets Competition.
Project 2: Filling Empty Shops Strategy
The BID will work with Barrow Borough Council and private sector partners to commission a strategy and implantation plan to tidy and fill empty shops in the town centre. This will not only improve the overall appearance of the town centre but also expand the retail offer, for example, by supporting pop-up shops. We will develop a database of empty properties and produce evidential literature about Barrow so that we can work directly with agents, landlords and/or retailers.
Project 1: Extending the Offer
The BID will organise and co-ordinate late night shopping and Sunday trading where there is potential to do so.
Project 2: Dining Out
Introduce an annual ‘Restaurant Week’ from year two, something that appears to be proving successful in other towns and cities and which will promote all that the town centre offers after 5pm.
Project 3: Entertainment
Organise a co-ordinated programme of weekend events and entertainment to enhance what the town centre currently offers to customers in the evenings. This overlaps with Project 4 of Better Barrow (above).
This summarises the information that was submitted as the Barrow BID Proposal prior to the ballot last April and, in essence, determines our strategy going forward.