Weston-super-Mare’s local businesses will benefit from big-name retailers according to BID leader

BID chairman Paul Batts believes independent businesses will benefit from having more national retai

BID chairman Paul Batts believes independent businesses will benefit from having more national retailers in the town. - Credit: Archant

The chairman of Weston-super-Mares’s Business Improvement District (BID) hopes to entice big retailers and promote independent businesses as the initiative starts a fresh five-year term.

Paul Batts wants the BID to work as the ‘glue’ between different development projects in Weston after it was handed a renewed mandate by business owners following a hard-fought campaign late last year.

The BID is a collaborative initiative which requires town centre businesses to pay into a central kitty, which is used to fund street safety measures, cleaning and promotional campaigns, among other things.

Mr Batts, who owns Outdoors And Active in Meadow Street, hopes to lure more big retailers to Weston and believes the presence of more national brands would benefit the local economy.

He said: “We want to get some big retailers and bring them to the town. If we get them in a room and show them what we’re about that might make a difference.

The vacant BHS unit in the High Street.

The vacant BHS unit in the High Street. - Credit: Archant

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“We get eight million visitors each year, and a lot of them would like to see a better retail offering here.

“If we can attract some of the bigger names, it will be a snowball effect. If a big name took the BHS unit in the High Street, for example, footfall would increase.

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“The more money spent locally, the better local business gets, so the more money spent in Weston, the better Weston will get.”

The BID has responded to calls from businesses for a bolstered street safety service in the town centre by employing more street wardens and extending the hours they patrol the High Street.

But Mr Batts wants to help Weston’s independent businesses succeed, too, and he wants the BID to create a map to showcase independent traders in the town.

He added: “If we had a map which highlighted the little independent areas of the town centre, like Orchard Meadows or Grove Village, more people might find the gems which are there.

“There are a lot of people who would love to support independents. Many of them are owner-operators, and people love the better customer service when the owner has their heart in the business.”

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