Business owners want to see more organised events, better parking options and an improved city centre environment in a bid to attract extra visitors to Stirling.
Their major concerns are availability of affordable parking; the need for cleaner streets and the substantial number of vacant units, according to the results of a business engagement survey conducted by Go Forth Stirling.
The survey, which invited business owners to have their say on ideas to enhance the city centre, also highlights strong satisfaction with the work carried out by the BID team.
More than 70% of respondents reported satisfaction with the BID’s achievements while the majority plan to vote in favour of a second five-year term for the organisation which seeks re-election in May.
The survey aimed to assess what measures are most needed to support Stirling’s diverse range of businesses and the results are shaping Go Forth’s business plan which will be launched in early May.
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 engage with our business community as we prepare for re-ballot and I’m pleased so many traders and partners took the time to respond.
“It’s clear from the results that business owners are keen for us to continue with the lobbying we carry out on their behalf and are happy with our shopfront grants which they want us to keep providing.
“They would like more to be done around parking, events and networking opportunities so this is something to focus on during our second term as we strive to keep delivering initiatives in accordance with their priorities.
“The survey information will help us build our 2022-27 business plan which is currently underway.
“It also gives us an insight into what traders think of the BID and we’re delighted with the satisfaction levels expressed regarding our work so far and to see nearly 70% of respondents believe we offer good value for money.
“It’s also heartening to find that the majority of those surveyed plan to vote in favour of a second term for Go Forth Stirling and we will now work hard to engage with those who are currently undecided.”
The survey, completed by 186 respondents, centred around Go Forth’s three core areas of focus – business support, footfall and the city environment – and asked what kind of initiatives traders would like to see included in the new business plan.
They were also asked about the support they may need to recover from the pandemic and what type of new events they would like hosted in the city centre.
The results showed an appetite for more events, more diverse retail and hospitality options and extra city centre activities catering for different demographic groups.
Respondents also indicated their wish for a better atmosphere and greater sense of community which could be achieved by hosting events and via an improved city environment including cleaner streets, enhanced lighting, floral displays and outdoor seating.
Barriers to an increase in footfall were highlighted as a lack of affordable parking for customers and staff; the high vacancy rate of commercial units and a city environment which is not perceived as attractive.
Businesses said they wanted to see Go Forth continue to lobby on their behalf and keep them informed about ongoing initiatives and available business support.
Other proposals included more local business networking opportunities, the provision of a platform to allow business owners to meet with council representatives and the expansion of Go Forth’s free Wi-Fi initiative.
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 term beginning in September.
For more information visit www.goforthstirling.co.uk