September 25th, 2016

All invited to join Bromsgrove High Street Improvement Forum

All invited to join Bromsgrove High Street Improvement Forum All invited to join Bromsgrove High Street Improvement Forum

A RALLYING call has gone out to town traders and residents to join the Bromsgrove High Street Improvement Forum’s (BHSIF) working group.

The organisation, which has been formed in the last two months, has been launched with the aim of improving the economic and the public profile of Bromsgrove Town Centre.

The group said, according to Bromsgrove District Council, ‘the demographics of the town and district appealed to leading national high street retailers, but there had been a lack of shop accommodation which suited their requirements’.

And it added, the authority held the belief ‘the creation of new development sites suitable for modern retail use and the subsequent presence of these retailers would lead to the opening of smaller boutique style independent retailers to suit the shop premises currently available on the High Street’.

But, members of the group said they were concerned about the ‘build it and they will come’ attitude and would ‘rather slow progress was being made’.

Group spokeswoman Alison Horton said: “We know smaller retailers are keen to come to the High Street, but there are many barriers for start-ups and so our focus will be to try to remove those barriers, or at least explore the routes around them.

“Also, rightly or wrongly, there appears to be a public perception the town centre is either failing or is, at least, coasting and not keeping up with the digital times, so we want to find out it that is actually valid and address it by using our evidence.”

A Facebook page set up by the BHSIF has quickly amassed more than 300 followers, including 15 passionate residents keen to take action.

“Our aim is to support existing independent traders in Bromsgrove, encourage new traders to come to the town centre and facilitate further improvement of the street scene, all in order to bring a new vibrancy and sense of community to the high street,” added Miss Horton.

The BHSIF is already researching ideas for potential improvements and schemes, having undertaken an inventory of all the 268 retail and commercial premises in the town centre.

They have also joined forces with the town team – of business owners and council officials – which focuses on Bromsgrove’s entry to the Great British High Street of the Year Awards.

Miss Horton said the group feels, moving forward, residents and traders would be key to helping make their aims a reality.

“Whilst at the moment we are not asking anything specific of anyone, we would certainly welcome any ideas people may already have as to areas we can focus on, information that might be helpful or support that might be open to us.”

The group’s next meeting is on September 2.

Anyone interested in attending should contact the group via their Facebook page – Bromsgrove High Street Improvement Forum – or via twitter, @BromsgroveHSIF.