A new Business organisation has been created to deliver future success for the town centre and support business opportunities.
In July, businesses in Merthyr Tydfil voted in favour of bringing a commercial perspective to the management of the Town Centre through creating a Business Improvement District (BID). The BID is not-for-profit and is directed by volunteers from levy paying businesses with the aim of improving Merthyr Tydfil as a place to work, visit and do business in. The new organisation formally commenced on 1st October and has already put in place a number of projects to improve the trading environment.
Merthyr Tydfil town centre has faced a number of challenges over recent years, including competition from out of town retail parks and internet shopping. To secure a bright future and remain competitive, a modern approach to promoting and improving the commercial area has been chosen. BIDs have been developed in some of the most successful town centres in the UK, (there are over 135 BIDs in Great Britain), but Merthyr Tydfil is just the second in Wales.
The new BID has committed to delivering a range of services that will improve the wellbeing of businesses and their employees and make the town centre a cleaner, safer and more pleasant place to visit. Initial projects will focus on promoting the town centre to visitors, introducing free parking for every Saturday before Christmas in December (a joint initiative with the Council), and enhancing town centre safety. Further projects will then be phased in throughout next year, to include a series of cost saving initiatives for businesses and a range of improvements to the town centre environment. All projects will be led by four ‘theme groups’ - Welcoming Merthyr Tydfil, Promoting Merthyr Tydfil, Engaging Merthyr Tydfil and Transforming Merthyr Tydfil – that will be made up from representatives of town centre businesses and organisations.
Services delivered by the BID will be extra to those provided by the council and, as a result, the town centre will get a significant boost, both in terms of appearance and investment. As well as contributions from businesses, the BID has already gained additional funding of £223,000 from the Welsh Government that creates a combined fund of around £1million that will be invested in Merthyr Tydfil town centre over the next five years.