The plans from Wakefield Business Improvement District (BID) would require the support of more than half of the businesses in the city centre, who would band together to raise £340,000 a year to spend on new features and attractions to improve the appearance, the ease of access, navigation and the safety for people visiting the city.
The chairman of Wakefield BID’s steering group, David Owens, from Wakefield Beer Exchange, said attracting the independent businesses was crucial to the plan succeeding and the group had canvassed firms throughout the city.
He said: “Different businesses wanted different features, but they were united by a common cause – to develop Wakefield’s unique brand, market it beyond the city boundaries to attract more visitors and provide them with more reasons to stay.
“Both retail and the hospitality sectors can see the obvious benefits for them with more visitors spending more money, but the professional services also appreciate that investment in the city centre will boost their businesses.
“Wakefield already has a vibrant cultural offer including theatres, live music and art but fails to highlight it to its own audience – Wakefield BID can change that and make sure that the arts play their part to attract and retain visitors to the economy.”
If approved, the plan would take place over five years and would invest in projects that are not the responsibility of Wakefield Council. Businesses will have the chance to vote on the proposals in February.