We back vision for Worcester city centre, says body

Worcester News: Worcester BID: backs call for later trading hours Worcester BID: backs call for later trading hours

A BOLD new vision for Worcester city centre has been backed by a major retailers body - which has issued a rallying call for shops to "buy in" to the dream.

Adrian Field, from Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), says a move to create continental-style shopping hours in the city will only work if enough people get behind it.

He also told your Worcester News he thinks the suggestion is a "great idea", but it needs a "long term commitment" from retailers.

As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, the council has completed a six-month review into how to improve the city centre.

A 16-page dossier suggests 19 recommendations centred around later opening hours for traders into the evening, discounted twilight parking and a thriving farmers' market, all based around a major city council marketing push.

Mr Field said: "It's one that's been tried with a lot of effort in bigger cities and it needs to be done when the economy is on the up.

"The idea of creating something in that 'twilight zone' between the shops traditionally closing and people coming back into the city for the pubs and clubs is great, but what it needs is a long-term commitment.

"It would need a critical mass and a real 'buy in' from retailers, because the opportunities are there for it to work, but it needs that commitment.

"Shops tend to open at 9am because it's always been that way, but not much businesses tends to be done in that first hour because things have changed, more people are in work and society has moved on.

"I reckon if a few shops opened from 5.30-6.30 when football through the city is a lot higher than 9-10am, they might be surprised at the number of customers coming through the door.

"Clearly this idea needs a lot of research but commitment is the key, it almost needs to become habitual."

Worcester MP Robin Walker also backed the idea of all day shopping, and believed there would be a public response to it.

"I was involved in a select committee hearing about longer shopping hours and I think it's a really good idea," he said.

"There is a demand for it out there and from the city's perspective it could break down those barriers between the 'day' economy and night-time economy."

The dossier, which is being sent to the council's Labour leadership, also includes penalties for traders who leave sacks of rubbish out for too long, and a fee system for A-boards.

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