We must have 21st-century trading hours in Bath
The man in charge of keeping the city centre thriving, Bath Business Improvement District manager Andrew Cooper, answers the questions in our My Bath feature, in conjunction with VisitBath.co.uk
1. What is your favourite part of Bath?
The meeting room of No 1 Royal Crescent, where you have such a superb view of the city. Breathtaking!
2. Where's the best place to eat?
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There are so many, so I would advise going on the new Official Bath App and using the augmented reality feature to find the best places to eat. I tried Brassiere Blanc the other day which was very enjoyable. Carluccio's has just opened, which is another great coup for the city, and the many independent restaurants that we have are being celebrated during the Great Bath Feast over the next few weeks.
3. What's the best view of the city?
The best view of the city I have ever enjoyed was from the top of the tower at Bath Abbey. On a clear day you can see for miles around and fully appreciate what a splendid city Bath is.
4. What would your perfect day in Bath entail?
You would have to start with food before embarking on any shopping or leisure activity. So it would be a full English breakfast in Northumberland Place. I think I could justify this prior to a little retail therapy before relaxing on the rooftop pool at the Thermae Bath Spa. When attractions and activities are in our own backyard, we forget to use them.
5. Where would you meet a friend for a drink?
Recently I had a drink in the newly refurbished Trinity pub, which was very pleasant. There are many great places in Bath and sometimes you just have to seek out the traditional pubs such as the Salamander, the Coeur De Lion or the Old Green Tree to enjoy a nice pint. What is improving in Bath is the café culture, with tables and chairs on the streets. Good examples are on Terrace Walk and the Roman Baths Kitchen. More is required collectively to enable businesses to be able to put out canopies and outside seating.
6. What's your favourite shop?
Working for the Bath Business Improvement District, whose job it is to promote all retailers and business sectors, I don't feel comfortable showing favouritism. If pushed, I would say those shops that realise the importance of window displays in making our high street unique. They capture the imagination of the customer as they walk by: Blakes on Bridge Street, Prey on George Street and The Loft on Bartlett Street are some examples.
7. What one thing about Bath would you change?
Following the Portas Review about high streets in the current economic climate, Bath can no longer be complacent, but has to work more collaboratively in combating these threats. SouthGate has brought about an increase in retail space in a difficult climate and with this has come extended trading hours. If we want to compete regionally, we have to have a hearts and minds campaign city-wide to have trading hours that are responsive to the 21st century consumer, who expects more. Closing the door at 5.30pm when the internet is open 24/7 is no longer an option for retailers.
â The Bath BID is helping to fund the Great Bath Feast food festival, which runs until October 31. See great bathfeast.co.uk for details.
â Next week: Bookseller Robert Topping