Businesses in Moseley are planning to join forces in a bid to win back shoppers lost to other retail centres over the past few years.
Companies in south Birmingham – which has suffered in recent years through a lack of footfall – may set up their own Business Improvement District (BID) similar to schemes in place in Birmingham city centre and other suburban shopping areas like Kings Heath and Erdington.
And businesses in Harborne are also looking into the possibility of establishing a BID to boost trade.
If successful, local companies would pay money into a pot of cash which they could then decide where to spend - be it on marketing the area as a shopping destination, improvements in the local townscape or security.
Moseley is in the “embryonic” stage of setting up a BID, according to the chairman of Moseley Business Association Mark Eftichiou.
He said there was a general consensus that most traders would like to see a group set up.
However there is a long way to go before it comes reality - first the idea has to be publicised and then local firms will take a vote on whether to go ahead with the idea.
“We have had a couple of meetings where we have floated the idea of putting forward the BID process where it has been met very positively,” said Mr Eftichiou.
“We can see town centres up and down the country are doing this and we want to get on that band wagon.”
In recent years, Birmingham has seen a proliferation of BIDs covering diverse areas such as the professional community BID in Colmore Row, a Broad Street BID as well as a Southside BID which has plans to turn the area into the city’s equivalent of Covent Garden.
Down the road, Harborne’s Village Centre Partnership is also looking at the idea and will submit a report on the feasibility of a BID later on this year.
Although a relatively affluent area, Moseley’s daytime footfall has suffered in recent years from its growth as a night-time destination for drinkers and diners, and this is something a Moseley BID could counteract, said Mr Eftichiou.
He said security as well as better marketing of Moseley as a shopping destination could be among the priorities of a BID, which could put it on a level pegging with the busier Kings Heath High Street down the road. We don’t see Kings Heath as a competitor because they tend to take a different kind of customer,” said Mr Eftichiou.
“Moseley has got a good reputation for independent shops and a more bohemian style of customer so we have a different kind of clientele.
“But we would need to get going on footfall as that is dying and we need to reinvigorate that
“We have been fighting a battle against the pubs and restaurants - there is nothing wrong with that but there need to be customers for the shops.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship.”
He added that having a BID would mean the big chains that have moved to the area would have to take their fair share of the burden in paying for local initiatives - which is not something that currently takes place.
“When it comes to the schemes that have come along, it’s always fallen disproportionately on the local small businesses whereas the big chains, the supermarkets and pubs, have always managed to avoid paying any money,” he said. “The Christmas lights are a good example – local independents have put their hands in their pockets but the big chains defer to the main office and national policies and we don’t get anything out of them.
“This will give us a level playing field because it’s done on a percentage basis.”