City centre business owners are being invited to have their say on how best to improve Stirling’s environment and attract more visitors. 

The team at the city’s BID, Go Forth Stirling, have launched a business engagement survey asking stakeholders to contribute their ‘Big Ideas’ for Stirling. 

The survey aims to assess what projects and initiatives are most needed and the results will help shape Go Forth’s forthcoming business plan for 2022-27. 

The company is seeking re-election in May with the hope of securing a second five-year term. 

A successful renewal ballot will allow the BID to continue funding current projects, such as free Wi-Fi in the city centre and the team of Ambassadors, as well as developing new initiatives to support the business community. 

Danielle McRorie-Smith, Project Director at Go Forth Stirling, said: “We launched the survey to really engage with our business community as we draw up our new five-year business plan and prepare for re-ballot. 

“We want to find out what business owners think of the BID and the work we have carried out over the past five years – which projects they liked best and which initiatives helped them most. 

“We aim to establish what their concerns are – whether that might be around city centre cleanliness, parking or anti-social behaviour – and what ideas Stirling may be missing when it comes to increasing footfall.

“We want opinions and ideas so we can move forward and ensure we are collaborating closely with our members and delivering initiatives in accordance with their priorities. 

“I’d ask all our members to fill in the survey and look forward to seeing what our business community come up with which will not only benefit their business but also everyone who lives in, works in or visits the Stirling City Centre BID area.” 

The survey is available via  https://bit.ly/GFSballotsurvey and is open until Thursday February 3. 

It centres around Go Forth’s three core areas of focus - business support, footfall and the city environment – and asks respondents which potential initiatives they would like to see included in the new business plan. 

These include start up grants, specific training courses, group procurement opportunities, networking opportunities and provision of footfall data. 

Business owners are also asked to rank current projects - such as themed trails like the Reindeer Trail; the Landtrain and the Independent Stirling scheme – in order of importance.

They are also asked about the kind of support they may need to recover from the pandemic and what type of new events they would like to see hosted in the city centre. 

The survey questions also cover plans to boost Stirling’s night-time economy and how to tackle issues around climate change and sustainability. 

It also asks business owners to rate several ‘Big Ideas’ – projects which require large investment but have the biggest impact – and to suggest any ideas of their own.

 

The ‘Big Ideas’ could include an enhanced city centre lighting scheme to brighten up key streets and highlight landmark buildings, large-scale events to boost footfall or a major drive to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

 

Such initiatives are the focus of many of Scotland’s 37 active BIDs as each works to enhance their city’s high street experience and deliver projects specific to their business community’s needs. 

In Stirling, the Go Forth team represents around 600 business owners with a key objective of increasing visitors to the city and devising initiatives to help make it a more welcoming destination for businesses and shoppers. 

Business owners pay an annual levy fee related to the size of their premises and the BID can access matched funding and grant schemes to support its projects and services. 

The BID also runs a voluntary levy scheme which means any business outside the current BID zone, but within the Stirling Council area, can become a member by paying a yearly levy linked to their rateable value. 

Meanwhile, smaller Stirling city centre businesses - who have a rateable value of less than £10,000 and are therefore not automatically members of the BID - have the option to join and pay a flat £250 annual fee. 

Go Forth Stirling was set up in 2017 following a vote among city traders with the next poll taking place between late May and early July. 

A successful renewal ballot would give the BID a second five-year term beginning in September. 

For more information visit www.goforthstirling.co.uk

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