Solihull town centre launches its retail fight back

FOLLOWING the launch of retail destinations such as Grand Central and Resorts World, Solihull businesses are being asked to help shape the future of the town centre so it can compete effectively against its new rivals.

The Solihull Business Improvement District (BID) says it is determined to ensure the town centre remains competitive and appealing to visitors and shoppers.

Birmingham New Street station’s Grand Central mall launched in September while the Resorts World dining, retail and cinema complex near the NEC (also in Solihull) opened last month.

The BID is responding with an in-depth survey of its 468 member companies to seek their views on proposed new events such as a one-day ‘business expo’, better use of social media and how to cover cuts to police funding which has led to a reduction in patrols in recent months.

Solihull BID covers the main retail, leisure and business areas within central Solihull. Businesses across the town centre voted for the BID to continue for a second five-year term in November 2014.

BID executive director Melanie Palmer said: “We hope the responses to the survey help create a town centre that continues to be a safe and welcoming destination for families and businesses.”

Solihull town centre is home to the Touchwood centre, which is embarking on an 115,000 sq ft expansion scheme.

Eight new restaurants and cafés will form part of the enlarged mall to strengthen the town’s night-time economy.

Touchwood general manager Andrew Cole said: “Touchwood considers the whole town centre and surrounding picture when defining strategy.

“With the new Resorts World and Grand Central developments Touchwood continues to focus on being beautiful, safe, clean and easy to navigate to and within.

“The extension will also bring much needed diversity to the centre and town with a better selection of higher end restaurants and shopping to appeal to elements of the population we are not currently reaching.

“This, along with other developments in the town, will protect Solihull for the future.”