Independent traders to play important role in future of Bath city centre
Independent traders are to work with council bosses to help shape the future of Bath city centre.
The Bath Independent Group (BIG) says it hopes to establish regular meetings with senior officers at Bath and North East Somerset Council so the authority can hear the opinions and problems of its members.
The seven-year-old pressure group represents 100 independent traders.
Its chairman, former mayor Eric Snook, said the meetings could be used to discuss city promotions such as cut-price parking or signposting. He said it was important senior council officials were in the meetings so decisions could be made.
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He said: "We have got to be able to get all these people together. We have to have quarterly meetings. As traders we want face to face meetings.
"We've been working so hard as independents and we know this is the only way forward."
Toyshop owner Mr Snook said council leader Councillor Paul Crossley had agreed to look at the idea.
B&NES is also a major commercial landlord and Mr Snook added that it would be beneficial if the city's other big property owners such as St John's Hospital and South- Gate were present.
Around 7,500 of the 9,000 businesses in B&NES are locally owned, and they are responsible for two-thirds of local jobs. On average an independent business generates £44,000 a year for the local economy compared to £41,000 for a non-local business.
Mr Crossley said: "Mr Snook has a long and distinguished history of being an independent trader.
"The council wants to draw upon his experience and those of others in the independent sector to further improve business conditions in the area. We are currently looking at the most effective way to take those views."