Earlier this week I attended a meeting of the Town Centre Partnership held in a discrete room above the shopping centre in the town, a secret hideaway on the roof which presumably few people know about or have access to. The Town partnership has been going for a few years now, and they have tried to include all stakeholders in the town on the committee – hence my invitation, to represent the business parks community. The TCP is responsible for organising the sort of events which make a difference to the townsfolk, such as the summer fair, the Easter egg hunt, the fireworks display and the turning on of the Christmas lights. These are the sort of events to which government funding will not stretch, yet are so important in involving all sectors of the residents of the town.
At the moment they are considering applying to make the town centre a Business Improvement District, for which they would receive extra government funding which would enable them to be relieved of the financial constraints which exist now. If they were to set up a BID, as for example they have in Worthing Town Centre, then everyone in the area designated, ie all retailers, would have to contribute financially, and the money would be collected by MSDC with the business rates. One major obstacle to be overcome is the fact that a sum of money larger than £30,000 wil be needed to fund the set up costs.
The businesses of Burgess Hill are a major income generator for the town. If you think your company would like to be more involved in this Town Centre Partnership, or could contribute a sum to help with staging these important events for the townsfolk, then please let me know. It could be a way of exercising corporate social responsibilities, and it would certainly benefit the ordinary people who make up the populace.