Bright future for Clevedon BID
PUBLISHED: 07:22 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:25 16 January 2020
New events, big developments and new branding have all been a receipe for success for Clevedon Business Improvement District (BID) as it nears its second anniversary since its conception.
Clevedon BID was approved in April 2018 after 62 per cent of the 108 businesses which submitted a vote chose to support the plans.
Since its conception, the BID steering group, chaired by Present Company owner Julie Bisacre, has made big steps in making the town a better place to live, work and shop while making plans to boost tourism and attracting people to shop locally.
The steering group has now made further developments as it enters 2020, with two new events launching this year - More Than Words Literary Festival and eat:Clevedon.
Clevedon BID approached the organisers of the successful free outdoor food festival series, eat:Festivals, who have ran a number of events around Nailsea, Portishead, Weston and Burnham to name a few.
Chairwoman Julie Bisacre said: "We liased with Beverley and Sarah Milner Simonds about hosting one of their festivals in Clevedon. We want this event to be different to their other ventures however as we are insisting all food and drink venders from our town and who pay into the BID get first dibs on a pitch at the event - we wanted to give priority to people who are members of the BID and will benefit most from this event. We want to make it stand out from the rest."
Eat:Clevedon will arrive for the first time in the town on May 16 and take over Alexandra Road and Queen's Square to showcase local food and drink producers alongside some visiting champagne producers from Clevedon's twin town of Epernay.
In March last year, it was revealed the tired Triangle Club, in the Triangle, would be taken over by 3SIXTY Real Estate and turned into a café and four flats.
The plans have since been approved and it is hoped work will begin this year to complete the much-needed works. As for the Triangle Centre redevelopment itself, the BID has met several times with Wessex Investors and are working hard jointly to ensure this critical major ownership and prospective development of the town centre works well for all existing business owners.
BID spokesman, George Grace, said: "Wessex is new owner of these building and is still familiarising itself with the various assets and exploring all options. We understand they hope to be in a position to share ideas with the local authority and conduct consultation with residents in the New Year.
"As part of this, given the ownership represents half of the town centre, the BID is working closely with the planning authority to ensure any new development helps to ensure vitality and vibrancy of the town centre in the long term given the increasing pressures from internet shopping."
Wider town masterplan
As well as making plans with North Somerset Council regarding the Triangle, Clevedon BID is also asking the local authority to look into a masterplan for the wider area of the town adjacent to the Triangle Centre to improve Great Western Road as an arrival point into the town and ensuring the new development works with car parking in the centre.
George added: "We think the key opportunity for Clevedon is to extend the sense of an attractive and walkable town centre and in particular around Queen's Square and how this relates to the car parking and Great Western Road.
"However, it is early days and it requires a proper and considered exercise by a small specialist team to look at the opportunities and investigate whether it is realistic that they can deliver it. The ambition would not just be to improve the area for tourists but also locals as over the year somebody living locally could spend thousands of pounds compared to a tourist who is likely to only spend a fraction of that."
The redevelopment of Queen's Square continues to move forward, albeit at a slower pace.
Julie Bisacre explained: "We are itching to get on with it but we have to go through the right processes. The roots of the tree in the centre of the square are still too close to the surface which affects the hundreds of plans to build pathways through the square that will need to be altered. We will go back to the designers and make amendments ... it will be fantastic, but we have to go through the right processes."