A Ross-shire town aims to revive its flagging fortunes by establishing a Business Improvement District (Bid).
The proposal to acquire Bid status has been named “Dingwall Means Business” under the leadership of project manager George Murray.
It is one of 11 other town and city centre Bids currently in development across Scotland with Nairn the only other from the Highlands.
With the seed money in place from the Scottish Government the application and consultation process could take up to 14 months.
Plans are being drawn up to establish the boundary of the Dingwall Bid before engaging with local traders.
Mr Murray said: “My role now is basically to get all the local businesses on board, we will create a boundary and just target all those businesses. The great thing about BID is that it is this will be the voice of local businesses.
“So whatever it is they feel is going to be more beneficial, that is going to give them more footfall then we will add that to the business plan and that is what we will be moving forward on.”
“That will give them more income, what is it that they need from the town, how we can help them to be more successful and to go grow and to create more employment.”
Local MSP Kate Forbes said: “I am fully supportive of any efforts and initiatives to support Dingwall High Street. There are a lot of great businesses and busy entrepreneurs but the High Street itself needs a bit of work.
“I supported the application for seed funding and it’s great that the group has been successful to start considering a Bid application.
“This is all about drawing people to spend time on the High Street and ideally shop in the independent stores on the High Street.
She added: “It would be deeply unfortunate if anything undermined these efforts like parking charges.”
David Richardson, FSB Highlands & Islands Development Manager, believes the move could provide Dingwall with a much needed stimulus.
He said: “Bids, with their strong private sector leadership, can make important contributions to reversing town centre decline and creating the strong and vibrant communities that we need.
“Dingwall’s traditional position as a key Ross-shire market town is clearly under pressure from both out-of-town shopping opportunities and the internet, and the presence of a well-focussed, well-resourced and well-managed Bid could do a lot to help the town’s many small businesses survive and, hopefully, thrive.”
Dingwall traders are currently battling the introduction of parking charges by the Highland Council.
Locals and businesses alike maintain it would “kill” any hopes of making the town prosperous.
The Press & Journal4th April 2018