New scheme to boost shopping and tourism

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COUNCILLORS are to be asked to back a scheme to boost Durham’s economy and help to create a thriving city centre.

Durham County Council’s ruling cabinet is being recommended to support setting up a Business Improvement District (Bid) for the city.

Bids are business-led initiatives that can last for up to five years.

They already operate in 140 locations around the UK, enabling businesses to come together to agree what additional improvements they want in their area.

In Durham City, it is proposed that the Bid will focus on marketing and events, business support and clean and safe initiatives that will stimulate business growth.

Businesses within the area will vote on proposals and, should they be successful, a small increase in rates would be implemented to carry out agreed improvements.

Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “Creating a thriving Durham City is a key priority of our regeneration statement by exploiting its potential as a major retail, business and residential centre, an academic hub and a visitor destination.

“If we are to achieve this ambition, we need to work with the city’s businesses, and a Bid would provide the most appropriate and effective way of doing this.”

The cabinet meets on Tuesday.