Significant cost savings have been identified for more than 25 town centre businesses in Shrewsbury thanks to an initiative launched by Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID).

Specialist consultants Meercat Associates are working to negotiate better deals for Shrewsbury BID members on their utilities, telecoms, waste and recycling services as part of the free advice scheme.

Since the launch in May, Meercat has identified savings of £65,931 for 27 businesses in the town, which is a record saving for the national consultants. They are now helping members to take action to reduce their bills.

Among those to benefit is the County Sleep Shop, Janet Sheffield, Co-Owner said: “We are looking at projected savings of around 44% on our current merchant fees bill in the first year, rising to 50% in the subsequent second and third year, which is obviously good news for us as a business. We have been very impressed with the professional approach from Meercat Associates and we are looking forward to hearing about savings that can be found in other areas.”

The savings and support scheme is also aimed at improving service levels from suppliers to the businesses and advice is given without obligation.

Kirsten Henly, Shrewsbury BID Manager, said: “We are delighted with the impact of the scheme so far and see further benefits ahead.

“Our aim in bringing in expert advice was to provide clear guidance to help our members to reduce their costs. By working together we are in a stronger buying position and can make savings on common supplies.

“We would encourage more members to take advantage of the initiative to see how they can benefit and follow up on the advice given.”

Earlier in the year Shrewsbury BID also negotiated special deals with car park provider NCP to save member businesses money on their annual parking costs.

Martin Priddy from artisan bakers Bread and Loaf on Castle Gates, said: “We were really pleased by the savings we will make. Running a business leaves little time to investigate the various bill options available soMeercat’s advice has been really helpful.”