Wakefield’s very first Business Improvement District (BID) has begun its work to make the city centre a better place to live, work and visit.
Members of the BID, which is made up of more than 500 businesses in the city, took part in a morning of action this week to identify the first improvements they are looking to make.
And the plan is to enhance and promote the city during the next five years.
Each business will pay an annual membership levy and more than £1.5m will be spent on creating “a more enjoyable, vibrant and economically successful” city centre.
BID Manager Elizabeth Murphy said: “We want to put pride back into Wakefield.
“We have all these people seeing the same image but in different ways and with different ideas and by working in partnership, we can concentrate on being wonderful at Wakefield.”
The BID, which has a motto of “pride, passion and partnership” includes both independent and national businesses operating in the city centre, as well as representatives from Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Police.
The Express is giving its support to BID and its work to improve the city and market it as a destination for business, and a place to visit, shop, relax, work and live.
Express news editor Gavin Murray said: “It’s important that everyone realises the potential we have right here in Wakefield.
“We have great people, great businesses, great attractions and we are in a prime location. “It is time for that message about our city to be understood and shared.”
Members will work together on tackling issues in the city, promoting its positive aspects and creating a sense of pride and identity.
It is hoped the five-year improvement plan will boost economic prosperity, attract business investment and visitors to the area and encourage people to stay in the city longer.
Inspector Helen Brear of the Wakefield Central Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “I am as passionate and enthusiastic as we all are in terms of improving the city centre, the business district and both the day and night-time economy.
“The rewards will be overwhelming in terms of the business community and the people who live and work here.”
The BID is also hoping to achieve a Purple Flag status for the city.
This accreditation, awarded by the Association of Town and City Management, recognises places that offer an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable nights out.
The group will have to demonstrate excellence in managing the evening and night-time economy and plan to begin working towards the standard in January.
And this week week several members carried out a mapping exercise in the city on Wednesday.
They walked around the BID’s geographical area, noting issues including litter, graffiti and damaged street furniture and highlighting anti-social behaviour hotspots.
The group will now take steps to identify those who are are responsible for each of these antisocial issues, and will then work with private tenants, the police, Wakefield Council and the business community to get them addressed.