Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID) has published its annual report for year two of its five-year mandate revealing demonstrable strides forward against key priorities set out by Shrewsbury business community to generate cost savings, deliver marketing impact, progress access and car parking issues and provide strategic direction and impact.

Shrewsbury BID’s role as a representational voice for business has been integral to a number of strategic town centre issues over the year, from involvement in the forthcoming Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package to co-chairing, with Shropshire Council, the development of a new vision document for the town, refreshing the Shrewsbury Regeneration Framework issued in 2011.

Ambitious marketing aspirations have been played out over the year resulting in a 107% year on year increase in the editorial value of Shrewsbury’s profile with 342 features spreading the word across national and regional on and offline media. Seasonal and sector specific campaigns have been rolled out with creative themes to showcase the town. Three new videos centred on its independent retailers, its Christmas offer and varied events programme have attracted more than 100,000 views promoting the town as a special destination.

Shrewsbury BID’s website was refreshed and has seen an increase in views of 42%. It has grown its social media presence to number more than 7,000 people as fans, followers or subscribers to the Original Shrewsbury platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Cost savings have been centre stage in 2015/16 with the BID supporting members by appointing specialists to negotiate better rates on utilities, which has saved more than £95,000 for 50 businesses so far. It also launched a preferred supplier scheme with Veolia for a waste and recycling to further benefit businesses.

During the year the BID worked to ensure £1 car parking on Sundays was maintained to encourage visitors to spend time in Shrewsbury and increase footfall which in turn has reported at least 5% increase year on year, in less than a year of the initiative being launched. Importantly Shrewsbury BID worked as part of a team of organisations in Shrewsbury to assist in gaining nationally acclaimed Purple Flag status which recognises the town centre’s safe night time experience.

Shrewsbury BID has worked with Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council and businesses to create a new town map and is spearheading new on-street signage system, with the first set of wayfinding signs due in the autumn 2016.

Kirsten Henly, Executive Director of Shrewsbury BID, said: “Our second year has been one of positive delivery achieved through partnership working and a steadfast commitment to the commercial wellbeing of our town.

“There is of course still much to achieve and new challenges to face as we enter year three of our term including improving car parking and access to the town centre and continuing to champion our evening economy.

“We are also looking at opportunities to apply for additional resource and funding from a variety of organisations to allow us to build on the progress achieved to date and bolster the reach and impact of our activities.  I hope to be able to announce some exciting new plans in the coming year.”

Mike Matthews, Chairman of Shrewsbury BID added: “Many of the initiatives outlined in the original business plan have been progressed this past year making Shrewsbury a better place to live, work and invest in. I should like to extend my gratitude to our Board of Directors, who work tirelessly in their own free time to ensure we meet the objectives set and continue to deliver demonstrable value and benefit to businesses.”

Shrewsbury BID’s achievements were nationally recognised when it received British BIDs accreditation for its governance and management structures. It also worked in partnership with Shrewsbury Town Council and Shropshire Council to win Heart of England BID in Bloom’s gold award and category title.