Kingstonfirst chief executive on shaping Kingston town centre for the next five years (From Surrey Comet)
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Kingstonfirst chief executive on shaping Kingston town centre for the next five years
It has been 10 years since Kingstonfirst was established as the UK’s first ever Business Improvement District (Bid).
And now the company is aiming for another five-year term after launching its third business proposal for Kingston at the Rose Theatre last week.
More than 900 businesses will be asked to vote in a secret postal ballot on Kingstonfirst’s proposals between May 29 and June 26.
But for Kingstonfirst chief executive Ros Morgan, the most important thing is that businesses vote in the first place.
She said: “It’s really important people vote, whether it’s yes or no. If loads of people vote and vote no, then the Bid shouldn’t exist anyway, and we’ll all get new jobs.”
The Kingstonfirst team
Kingstonfirst’s third business proposal focuses on three key aims – marketing, managing and shaping Kingston.
Some new ideas are already in place – such as the regenerated ancient market place, which has been given its own brand, website and magazine even before it is finished.
Others, such as the Rangers clean up team and the ambassadors – who help tourists and visitors get around Kingston - are a familiar sight in the town already.
Mrs Morgan said: “There is a lot of the same stuff because it works, and there’s no point changing it.”
“But other things do change, and this time we’re really going to push the independent shops.
“The reality is now with online shopping, even if you’ve got big brands, you have to have added attractions – and that for us is the river, the markets and the independents.”
Click below to see Kingstonfirst's video celebrating 10 years as town centre manager
Kingstonfirst will also take a different approach to this year’s Ride London cycling festival, which last year saw thousands of visitors come to town, but virtually nobody shop.
Mrs Morgan said: “Some of the businesses lost 60 per cent of their trade on that day, and that’s where we come in.
“So this time we’ll be promoting Kingston as a weekend destination.
“We’ll be saying to families why not come down on Friday or Saturday and get to know Kingston.”
She added: “I meet with businesses and they tell me there are still issues and there are still problems, and I agree with them.
“But that for me is why you need a Bid to sort out those issues.
"The question is - can you afford not to have Kingstonfirst?
"My answer is no."
For more information about the proposal, visit the website.
What do you think? Do Kingstonfirst deserve a third term? Leave your comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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