Kidderminster Business Improvement District is starting the year with optimism, and a call to people to support their local businesses.
There’s plenty to look forward to in Kidderminster in the year ahead.
The chancellor announced last year that Kidderminster would receive a further £17.9 million via the Levelling Up Fund, in addition to the £20.5 million Future High Streets funding awarded in December 2020.
The Levelling up funding is set to be invested in three key projects in Kidderminster Town Centre. And we are already starting to see the difference that it makes. It will enable significant changes to the Town Hall, ensuring its future as a major heritage asset, cultural space and events venue.
‘It’s great to see the Exchange Café already open at the Town Hall where people can meet, chat and eat,’ said BID Manager Alex Powell. ‘There’s also an arts activity space for workshops.’
The funding also means that the Piano Building, an empty listed building in the heart of Weavers Wharf will be brought back into use. The Levelling up funding will also finance a new walking and cycle pathway along the canal towpath in partnership with Worcestershire County Council.
Kidderminster is fortunate to have the connecting waterways and the investment is going to make a difference to both local people and visitors to the town centre.
‘Kidderminster BID is working hard to improve the town, both for local people and visitors.’ said Alex.
‘Our town centres have changed dramatically over the years. Even before COVID-19 our high streets nationally have been competing with large retail parks, out of town shopping centres and the ever-present online shopping and we’ve seen some much-loved household names disappear.
‘However, we feel confident that our local community really value our town centre businesses and want to support them.
‘Despite the increase in online shopping there are many people who like to shop in person. They want to have an experience too, maybe combining their shopping with a coffee or lunch. It is now more important than ever that we think twice about where we spend our money. By choosing Kidderminster town centre we’re actually making a difference to where we live and supporting our business community.’
The town has welcomed a new family burger restaurant 89th Street which opened in December at the Bull Ring. It is licensed and serves a range of cocktails and food, including vegetarian and vegan options in a stylish modern interior.
Creating a safe and secure town centre is also at the top of the agenda for Kidderminster BID this year. More than 60 businesses in Kidderminster have come together to focus on security and the town’s loss prevention officers have been having a real impact both dealing with offenders and providing a visible deterrent.
The BID is working in partnership with West Mercia Police to take the first steps towards Purple Flag accreditation and we continue to support a new Pubwatch in the town. The BID also co-ordinates the Cleaner, Safer Kidderminster multi-agency group, bringing together a range of local organisations who are all invested in improving our town centre.
‘We have a strong local business community in Kidderminster,’ said Alex. ‘All of us have a role to play in supporting them in 2022.’