Sunderland business plans

Leading businesses in Sunderland are launching proposals to introduce a Business Improvement District in the city centre to encourage firms to work together and bring more visitors.

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Full Report: Sunderland's business plans - a tale of two cities

Traders in Sunderland have revealed plans to make the city centre more appealing for visitors.

The traders are proposing an additional tax on businesses to pay for improvement to be made, and local traders will have to vote in favour of the measure for it be brought to fruition.

A similar scheme has already been successful in another of the region's cities - Newcastle.

You can watch the full report from our Business Correspondent Ben Chapman below.

Trader: Sunderland "not cosmopolitan enough"

Traders I've spoken to in Sunderland are supportive of plans to create a 'business improvement district' similar to Newcastle's. But many still question whether it will work.

Newcastle has restaurants and bars that attract people into the city in the evening.

Sunderland wants to do the same.

But you need the businesses to open late to attract visitors, and you need visitors to persuade them to do that.

One trader told me it's a 'chicken and egg' problem that will be hard to solve.

He says he fears the city is not cosmopolitan enough to compete with Newcastle.

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Sunderland 'BID': main priorities

Part of Sunderland city centre could become a Business Improvement District Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The priorities for the Sunderland BID (Business Improvement District) are:

  • A cleaner, greener and safer City Centre

  • A busier City Centre, with increased footfall

  • A more vibrant evening economy, attracting more people between 5 - 10pm

  • More marketing and promotions

  • Events, festivals and celebrations

  • Better signage, access and information for visitors

  • A leadership voice for City Centre businesses

Traders welcome Sunderland's 'BID' proposals

Proposals to create a Business Improvement District in Sunderland city centre have been welcomed by some local traders.

Harry Collinson, owner of Collinsons Jewellers, is also Chairman of the Sunderland City Centre Traders Association (SCCTA) and is a supporter of the BID. He said,

"I am very, very proud of my City, but it could be even better. Making improvements shouldn't just be down to the Council or individual groups - it's down to all of us. Which is why the BID proposal is such a good one - everyone is contributing both money and ideas. The BID gives us a chance to move the City forward. I urge anyone within the BID area to vote yes when they get the chance to do so."

– Harry Collinson, Sunderland City Traders Association (SCCTA)
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