REGENERATION body Chester Renaissance will remain for the foreseeable future despite its chief executive being seconded to the new CH1 Chester BID Company.
Rita Waters has been taken up an 18-month secondment and been appointed advisor to the board of the newly-formed private sector group.
Key stakeholders including Chester Racecourse, national chains and independent retailers are backing the CH1 Chester BID Company.
Together the group hopes to secure business improvement district (BID) status for a yet-to-be-determined area in the heart of the city.
BIDs are business-led and funded bodies designed to improve defined commercial areas. Businesses are asked to vote on whether or not to pay a levy on top of their business rates which is pooled together to fund improvements.
Ms Waters, who was previously CEO of the Liverpool BID, said: “We’re at a critical point in our history with the changing face of high streets - not just in Chester but nationally. I know, from previous experience in difficult economic times, just how important a BID can be.
“BIDs change the way a city works together, promoting and delivering growth by its businesses.
“The Chester BID board and city businesses have a unique opportunity to ensure Chester is a key regional shopping and visitor destination.”
“The Chester BID will be run by its businesses, delivered by its businesses and answerable to its businesses.”
In March, opposition Labour councillors said Chester Renaissance should be replaced and Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Mike Jones said the body would ‘disappear’ should a BID group be formed.
Professor Steven Broomhead, chairman of Chester Renaissance, said the body would be continuing to work on delivering the One City Plan for the foreseeable future.
He said: “A Chester BID will play a vital part in Chester’s strategic development outlined in the One City Plan.
“Rita has invaluable understanding and experience in this highly specialised field, which will serve the Chester BID well at a time when the city is said to be losing ground to its neighbours as a retail centre.”
Businessman Paul Daniels, who runs thebestofchester, has been appointed interim leader of the new group.
He said: “We’re delighted that Chester Renaissance have agreed to this full time secondment.
“Rita’s experience will be vital to the success of project which enables our business community to play a major part in Chester’s future.”