Businesses across South Queensferry and Dalmeny are being consulted on plans to improve the local economy.
The group Queensferry Ambition – which represents nearly 200 firms in the area – has published its draft business plan, after discussions with partners and stakeholders over the past few months.
The document highlights proposals to develop new events, improve tourism facilities and boost trade conditions for local businesses.
Queensferry Ambition also wants to improve business networking and ensure the views of local firms are heard by public and private agencies.
This week it wrote to members, circulating its draft plan and asking for any final comments on the document, which sets out a vision for the next five years.
Queensferry Ambition is the local business improvement district (or BID) for the area. It provides a range of services to improve the local economy, funded by levies from local businesses.
Later this year, member firms will be asked to vote on a new term for the organisation.
The Reverend David Cameron (pictured), the chairman of Queensferry Ambition, said: “The BID aims to make Queensferry a flourishing and vibrant community. We’ve achieved a lot in the past few years, but there’s much more we can do.
“This new, draft plan highlights how we can aim to build on past successes and introduce new initiatives to help businesses and the wider community. It has been drawn up after engaging with our BID levy payers – as well as drawing on the work we’ve been doing with partners to discover new opportunities for the town.
“We’ve included these in our draft plan and now want to get any final comments and suggestions before agreeing a final version.”
The draft business plan highlights Queensferry Ambition’s work over the past four and half-years and looks to the future. The organisation claims to have attracted £400,000 in additional funding, staging major events to put a spotlight on the Queensferry area. Business Advisory Support has helped 22 local businesses save more than £25,000. Thirty five BID members each received £250 grants to improve their business performance.
The draft business plan focusses on four key themes:
• events, marketing and promotion;
• making the area more accessible and attractive;
• investing in business support; and
• being business-led and business-managed.
The Reverend Cameron said: “Queensferry Ambition will build on the pride and community spirit of past successful events to develop an events and marketing strategy targeting locals, visitors and businesses to make Queensferry their destination of choice. The Queensferry BID will focus on the strengths of Queensferry highlighting its business and retail offering, quality restaurants and cafes and its world class iconic views based on the Forth Bridge World Heritage Site.
“It is vital that the Queensferry Ambition makes it as easy as possible for people to access the town with relative ease - including from motorway signage from the new Road Bridge junction highlighting Queensferry as a destination worth visiting. With clearer street signs, improved visitor information/facilities, better traffic management and more parking, visitors will be able to find what they are looking for, discover the unique character of Queensferry, stay longer, spend more money and revisit our historical town.”
He added: “Queensferry Ambition will also work to improve trading conditions and provide support for business. The BID will help established and new firms to find ways to attract investment and deliver jobs in a more cost-effective manner.
“Lastly, Queensferry Ambition will facilitate a vibrant local business network and promote meaningful engagement with the wider community. The BID will act as a strong lobbying body to ensure that the views of businesses are represented at the highest level in all relevant public and private agencies.
“We believe this represents a compelling vision for the BID and a forward thinking plan for Queensferry. We hope our members will support that ambition – and vote ‘yes’ for the business improvement district to continue in our ballot later this year.
“With the support of businesses and the wider community we can make great things happen for the area.”
This week, all member firms were being sent copies of the draft plan, asking for comments. Firms will also have the chance to discuss the proposals and hear about past performance at Queensferry Ambition’s annual member meeting, which takes place on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at the Dakota Hotel, on the outskirts of South Queensferry.
The guest speaker will be Richard Marsh, who is working with Queensferry Ambition and partners to win Heritage Lottery Fund money to improve facilities for tourists visiting the Forth Bridge World Heritage Site. To find out more about Queensferry Ambition, please visit www.queensferryambition.co.uk