I AM writing this letter in response to Derek Pope’s letter to the Observer last week, where he assures readers that the attempt to secure a Business Improvement District
(chichesterbid.co.uk) is nothing more than a stealth tax – let me assure Mr Pope that as chairman of the Chichester City Centre Partnership, who will manage the BID; as a Chichester businessman of long standing; as a voluntary participant; and as a lover of our city, this is not the case.
I sincerely welcome his participation in the debate.
I am a firm believer that well-meaning, articulate and informed opposition is important and will lead to constructive and successful governance.
I also understand that at a time of austerity, indeed adversity for many businesses, we will find it hard to prise that extra contribution, no matter how small (here amounting to only one per cent of rateable value) and it will require faith in the project, faith in the people and faith that apathy and indifference will not succeed.
It is difficult to be optimistic at times, but we have the fundamentals in Chichester.
Rather than moaning about our city, district and county councils – we should get involved.
Rather than speculate why footfall is declining and our city centre is poorly promoted to a wider audience – we should learn to be creative.
Rather than walk by the pathetic state of our city’s infrastructure (broken and patched paving/tired and inadequate seating/ unimaginative planting) – try to understand that that the local authorities do their best with limited resources.
I am asking Mr Pope and the other instigators of wealth in our city, to get behind the campaign.
We should not dwell on the past, but to play a constructive role, a collective role, lead by the business community to perform in a way that we have, so far, failed to do so.
Just wait and see what benefits you will witness and the enthusiasm created for all, not just the business community – certainly not just the retail sector.
Our remit is all about performance.
Be advised – matron will be back on the ward !
Chairman – City Centre Partnership