Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 16.47.19Stockton’s businesses at the forefront of new town centre initiative.

A local initiative to stimulate business and encourage more people to visit and use Stockton’s shops and services has appointed an experienced team of local business leaders to take forward plans for a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town centre. Jemma Radestock, manager of the town’s Marks and Spencer store will chair the group, supported by two deputies, Janice Auton of Poppys Hairdressing and Helen Simmons of Hewitts Solicitors.

Looking forward to her new role, Jemma said, “I am very excited by this new initiative and delighted at the level of interest being shown by local business owners and managers. The Stockton BID can bring together businesses and existing town centre initiatives to maximum effect. With the works to improve the town centre now complete this new initiative could not be more timely or relevant to the businesses in town. I encourage all the businesses to get involved and get behind us.”

The three new leaders are part of a steering group involving around 20 local businesses and the local authority. They recently appointed a BID Co-ordinator to contact local businesses, to listen to their priorities, and then use this information to inform the development of the BID Proposal and business plan. Chris Kolek, the BID Co-ordinator said, “To be working for such a dynamic business group in a town which has so much potential is exciting. The new Chairperson and her deputies are experienced business women who bring creative thinking as well as some practical understanding of what is involved in running successful businesses in these challenging times”.

Businesses in Stockton are being informed about the BID by visits, door-to-door, from the BID Co-ordinator. He is keen to answer questions about BIDs, to highlight good practice elsewhere as well as pointing out the pitfalls to avoid. This summer businesses with premises in the town centre will be invited to participate in a survey which seeks to establish their priorities for improving trade in Stockton town centre. What emerges from the survey will form the basis of the BID proposal.