Bid to bring more people into Sunderland city centre

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SUNDERLAND city centre businesses get their first glimpse of the shape of things to come tomorrow.

An audience of businesses and organisations will gather at The Bridges shopping centre for the official launch of the new Business Improvement District.

City centre businesses voted in favour of the BID proposal – which will use a 1.5 per cent levy on business rates to pay for a range of improvements – in July.

The scheme, which officially started on April 1, will see at least £3.4million invested in the city centre over the next five years, as well as acting as a key mechanism to attract other investment.

The new directors who will steer the BID were appointed last week, and tomorrow the board will unveil the new brand that will be used to promote the BID and provide details of the 2014 programme of events and activities aimed at bringing more shoppers and visitors to the city centre.

The audience will also hear about how BIDs in other UK cities have contributed to growing local economies, and the presentations will be followed by a question and answer session.

Andy Bradley, chairman of the BID Board and centre director of The Bridges, said: “We’ve had a lot of constructive feedback from city centre businesses about what Sunderland needs to make it a more vibrant, attractive place.

“This event will give us the opportunity to share our plans to create a more vibrant, cleaner, brighter, safer place for residents, businesses and visitors.

“We are confident that the £3.4million BID investment over the next five years, coupled with the £30million regeneration programme currently under way in the city, will make it our time to shine as the spotlight is turned on Sunderland.”