As I introduce our Business Proposal for the next five years, I can say with certainty that our town centre is not at the stage many of us expected or hoped it would be this time five years ago.
The events of the last year have accelerated levels of decline, bringing into stark reality the challenges we now all face in recovering from the impact that COVID-19 has had on our local economy. One thing in which we can be confident, however, is the resilience of the Croydon town centre community and its willingness to work together, firstly to identify the hurdles that need to be overcome and then to get things done.
Our resilience has been tested like never before. Through our combined efforts, we have worked hard to keep everyone safe and informed while tackling the operational needs of our town centre. I am thankful to each and every one of you for your support in doing what was needed to get us through this enormously difficult period.
Help for our struggling retail, hospitality and leisure sectors has been particularly important throughout this time and I am especially proud of the lead role Croydon BID played in securing a change in Government policy which resulted in greater financial support being provided to businesses nationally through our lobbying efforts and ‘Raise the Bar’ campaign.
Though the threat of COVID-19 remains, our focus now is on recovery – the single most important issue identified in consultation with our members.
As we reflect on the challenges facing Croydon, businesses have made it clear that the basic fundamentals, namely a safe, clean and attractive business environment are essential for success. Equally there is the need to go further and for firm foundations to be put in place for future sustainable growth.
Only now, as many of the restrictions of the past year start to ease once again, does it feel like we can start to look to the future with a degree of optimism and confidence.
Over the next twelve months, our priority will be to restore even greater confidence and optimism by working together with you to address the most fundamental needs for a successful town centre, namely:
We know the road ahead will not be easy, uncertainty may continue for some time and it is important that we remain realistic and focus on the improvements that are within our gift to deliver. Nevertheless, the BID team is committed to striving hard to drive things forward and we are confident that through delivery of this plan and with your support over the next five years, sustainable economic growth and certainty can be achieved for our town centre.
Together, we will go beyond fixing the basics and strive for more. Croydon deserves it.