Business and tourism leaders make fresh co-operation call

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A COLLABORATIVE approach to revitalising Skegness’s troubled retail sector has been recommended by several business and tourism leaders in the town.

Following the closure of a number of major shops, key figures have suggested that a partnership between businesses and the tourism industry could help address the growing retail problems.

A destination management organisation incorporating many of the region’s major players has recently been set up to find ways of promoting the coastal area and driving forward its prosperity.

Although the organisation is predominantly aimed at increasing the region’s visitor appeal, chairman and Butlins resort director Chris Baron believes that vibrant retail sector features heavily in the DMO’s long term aspirations.

He said: “Retail and tourism are integral to each other; I’m hoping the DMO will start the discussions and hopefully develop Lumley Road to make it a better place for people to shop.”

The DMO is a partnership between the public and private sector, drawing funding from each to be invested in areas it deems beneficial to its members.

A similar scheme, known as a business improvement district has successfully addressed a wide range of retail problems in Lincoln, Boston and Spalding.

Businesses in a defined area vote on whether to join the BID and if more than half agree, it becomes mandatory for all businesses in that area to join.

BID members then pay a levy on their business rates which is retained for local investment in areas they decide would be best at addressing retail problems.

Although ‘murmurs’ of interest have been expressed at establishing such a scheme in Skegness chairman of Skegness and District Chamber of Commerce, Glenis Brown, believes the current economic climate is not conducive to encouraging businesses to part with more money.

She believes the DMO will be a better way forward.