BREXIT & the impact on Place Management in Northern Ireland

A number of you have been in touch with NI BIDs to ask about the impact of BREXIT on your places. We will keep a watching brief over the next few months and keep you informed of any issues that we see that may directly or indirectly affect place management Northern Ireland. We would encourage all our existing BIDs as well as other place management organisations to feed into this through the forum of NI BIDs.

The fundamental issue for places in Northern Ireland is how to deal with the uncertainty and a potential lack of business confidence over the coming months. There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of conflicting ‘facts’ and viewpoints. So what can places and more specifically BIDs and Town/City management organisations realistically do? NI BIDs are suggesting 3 things that BIDs & place management organisations can do to understand, prepare and steady their own trading environment over the coming months:

  1. First and foremost MONITOR, MONITOR, MONITOR.

    During the NI BIDs Academy, we emphasised the need to understand and accurately reflect your trading environment. This has never been more important now. Those of you who have invested in performance measurement tools such as footfall counters, USE THEM and share the statistics and trends as they emerge. This will allow for evidence based decision-making rather than reacting to speculation and rumours. Compare and contrast your information with other places and against the regional and national statistics. In the short term, particularly in the border areas, there will be an influx of shoppers if the pound remains weak. This will put pressure on access and car parking arrangements, so it will be important to monitor this and work with the appropriate agencies to address these. This will not only be an opportunity to prove your value through the provision of timely, coherent and factual information that will help stabilise the trading environment but also contribute to any policy and practical responses.

  1. Demonstrate “Ambition, innovation, flexibility and imagination”

    This is exactly what place management organisations such as BIDs should be about and the role it should play going forward. The sustainability and independence of, particularly BID organisations, will result in it being an even more important funding mechanism now, and consequently it needs to be used more effectively. NI BIDs would urge you to review your plans to ensure they reflect the changing circumstances and, for those of you in the process of doing them, think along these terms. Furthermore, organisations like a BID are conduits for businesses to engage with the local and central government and through them Europe. They can play a crucial role in influencing the debate around BREXIT and making the views of local businesses heard.

  1. Work closely with your Council, Chambers, Enterprise Agencies and tourism bodies

    Again, we preached this incessantly during the NI BIDs Academy, but it is even more vital now. BREXIT will have different effects in different areas based on size, proximity to the border, reliance on tourism or export, for example. The BID has a key role in getting to grips with this and working collectively with the other key stakeholders to trade effectively going forward. Understanding the extent and proportion of European funding in your area will be a key area of work and working collaboratively to find new innovative ways of delivering these projects will be paramount if required.

NI BIDs are very keen to hear of any particular impact and concerns relating to your place, whether you have a BID or another type of set up. We know that BREXIT is likely:

  • To have different effects in different areas
  • To put pressures on our political structures and decision making processes going forward
  • To mean that we need to have a clear picture of the extent and proportion of European funding in your area and what is likely to happen and how to respond.
  • To mean resetting of the tri-partite relationships between Ireland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Want to express your view on this article?

Email us with your thoughts on how BREXIT may affect your area.


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