Brand Wakefield is needed to help city to compete

Business owners in Wakefield.
Business owners in Wakefield.
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Wakefield needs to become a brand to attract more visitors to the city.

That’s the message from Wakefield City Centre Partnership (WCCP) chairman Liam Duffy, who is working on an action plan to boost trade and regenerate the city.

The group – a committee of business owners – is urging shops to help create a long-term strategy to shape the future of the city.

Surveys will be sent out to business owners next week asking them to share their ideas on what improvements they would like to see.

It is hoped that the questionnaire will identify the public services and facilities that people feel are lacking in the city and help Wakefield Council determine what improvements can be made in the future.

Mr Duffy, owner of the Iris on the Bullring, said the city needs to create its own brand to help it compete with neighbouring cities.

He said: “What we want to do is go back to basics and ask businesses fundamentally what they want.

“Whether it is too much anti-social behaviour, lack of footfall or decent shops or is there enough independent shops? We want to start that communication with people and get them sharing ideas.

“We know shops in Kirkgate will have different needs and ideas to places on Wood Street so it is about engaging what everyone wants. What we need to do is create a brand for Wakefield.

“Other places like Leeds have had a lot of investment and if we don’t start coming together and suggesting ideas we are going to get let behind.”

The WCCP, which includes representatives from independent businesses, high street stores and pub landlords, wants to create an environment that people, businesses and visitors feel proud of.

It also aims to enhance and improve the perception of the city centre and promote Wakefield as a tourist destination.

Mr Duffy became chairman of the group earlier this year and hopes businesses would get on-board with the project.

He said: “When it was first brought up in the meeting people were interested. It is important that everyone shares the same vision.

“Some of the ideas may be quick fixes while others can be long term projects.

“But once we have an idea of what people think then we could look at going to the council and saying this is what businesses want.

“It will help keep businesses thriving and attract new shops to the city.”

Anyone wanting to share their ideas or find out more about the WCCP should email wakefieldcitycentrepartnership@gmail.com.

Business owners are also invited to the first WCCP forum, which will be held at Unity Works on Thursday, June 25 from 8am.