‘We are working as hard as possible’ - chair of Bedminster BID reacts to criticism from East Street traders
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The chair of Bedminster BID (Business Improvement District) has responded to criticism from East Street traders impacted by nearby road closures and building work.
Simon Dicken, who is also manager of the East Street branch of Wilko, says the group is fully aware of the challenges faced by local businesses and is working hard to address them. Mr Dicken says Bedminster BID has created a subgroup of traders for East Street to ‘continually implement as many support measures as possible’.
He went on to say the group recently funded and worked with EAT:Bedminster, a street market with 50 food and drink stalls which saw thousands of people visit East Street on a Saturday in October. Bedminster BID has also created a business directory which was circulated to all the contractors working in the area, encouraging them to support local traders.
The statement is in response to traders who told us they were struggling to survive due to roadworks which mean Malago Road and Dalby Avenue are one-way (southbound only) and many shoppers now have to park at Asda and walk back up to the shops at East Street.
Mr Dicken said: “We lobbied for the council contractors to be given a £50 allowance to spend in East Street and the feedback about the food has been excellent. We are asking developers to do the same.
“We worked with the council comms team to create leaflets about the East Street offer, which were delivered to 10,000 South Bristol homes. We also have large billboards on Dalby Avenue, Malago Road and Bedminster Bridge roundabout directing customers to the street.
“We have also worked with the contractor teams to revise the traffic signage to ensure that East Street and Bedminster is highlighted as open on all signs. In addition, East Street traders have been included in our recent Halloween trail which saw 1,000 additional customers to the area.”
But Mr Dicken concedes that there are other challenges for East Street, which is an area that has seen a large number of anti-social behaviour in recent months. Graffiti is another issue in this part of Bedminster.
He said: “A big problem on East Street has been tagging and the streets needing cleaning, so four weeks ago we began a £10,000 pilot to clean the streets which we will be reviewing with the traders for their thoughts at the start of December.
“Very shortly our new lighting scheme will be switched on, which will see festoon lighting across the whole area including East Street, which will remain in place after Christmas to bring a great feeling to the area after dark.
“We realise the frustrations of the traders at the series of circumstances which are currently affecting all of our businesses but can assure them that we are working as hard as possible within our funding, while also working with Bristol City Council to implement some larger spends through a WECA grant.
“This will shortly include painting the bollards which feature all the way down the street and the implementation of planters to bring some more greenery to the streets.”