Two new co-ordinators will drive a project focused on boosting footfall, reducing empty shops and bringing pop up and community shop concepts to Banbury town centre.
Neil Wild and Iain Nicholson have been appointed by Cherwell District Council to work with existing town centre partners such as the Old Town Association, Chamber of Commerce, Castle Quay and Banbury Town Council.
Their brief includes identifying gaps in the town’s retail and leisure offer, promoting Banbury to would-be new businesses and helping to develop initiatives that reduce the leakage of spending power by people shopping elsewhere.
Mr Wild, a chartered surveyor, said: “Banbury is a great town and this project provides an opportunity to build on what is good here.
“A lot of people are working for the town’s benefit so it is working in cohesion with them to help boost footfall.
“We have found there are nearly 150 independent retailers in Banbury which was really interesting.
“These shops provide lots of special offers and this is something we should be helping to promote and grow.”
Mr Nicholson is a town centre specialist who has worked on initiatives in towns and city suburbs including a project in Wantage which had considerable success, reducing empty shop units from 23 to four.
He said: “It is all about making the most of what we’ve got in Banbury and promoting the businesses and their performance strengths. At the same time we want to bring people into the town and we have seen a number of examples in towns across the country where this has worked.”
One idea the pair hope to introduce is a pop-up shop concept, where they will work with landlords of buildings in the town to offer a working space for a period of time to new businesses – which can be for retail or other uses.
Mr Wild said: “This will hopefully provide the next step towards providing new businesses in the town and means they can be there for a short period of time, rather than on a long-term deal.” He added that despite parking being a key issue for many shoppers and retailers in the town centre, it was not part of the brief to help increase footfall and help boost the town’s vitality.
Over the next few weeks, the pair will be speaking to the existing town centre partners and making assessments of the town centre.
For more information call Mr Wild on 01295 817606 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org