Will new M-boards draw a line under Chichester’s A-board debate?

M Board BID Chichester CCP SUS-150505-085337003
M Board BID Chichester CCP SUS-150505-085337003

A SOLUTION to the controversial A-board debate was among the hot topics at the annual meeting of a Chichester business partnership.

The ‘Business Improvement District’ (BID) was set up in 2012 and uses money from levies to fund such initiatives.

A proposed M-board design would act as a replacement means of advertising for side-street shops following the district council’s crackdown on the pavement-cluttering A-board signs.

Andrew Finnamore, BID chairman, said: “Rather than just saying ‘no’, what we are needing to do is come up with a compromise.”

The new concept is a fixed base with display boards hooked to it.

Planning was submitted in August as part of a bigger signage project which includes fingerposts, city maps and an online directory.

Christmas lights, which costs the BID £50,000 a year, was also an area of concern due to certain areas being left in the dark.

Kim Long, events and project manager for the city centre partnership, said: “You wouldn’t know Christmas had started until you were halfway up North, East, South or West street.”

A ‘need’ to let visitors ‘know when they 
reach the gates’ saw a contract drawn up with the aim to take Christmas ‘out to the four corners of 
the city’.

However it was revealed some of the brackets which hold the displays failed ‘weight tests’, meaning they could not be used.

A rebate is being sought as a result and the city will see new lights installed for the 2015 festivities.

The overall message from BID directors was that ‘things are now heading in the right direction’.

This includes footfall which, having been on the decline since records began in 2006, seems to be plateauing year on year.

A slight rise in 2014, to just over ten million, sees the figure return 
to levels seen in 2011 and 2012.

BID’s annual review document called it ‘relatively good news’ as the rise is at odds with the national averages.

Independents’ Week failed to make a ‘significant impression’ while Ride2Chi exceeded expectations by 30 per cent with about 5,700 extra people in the city.