Oswestry has “gone backwards” in the last five years, a new survey has revealed.

More than 60 per cent of the early respondents to the Oswestry Business Improvement District (BID) questionnaire said they felt there had been a decline.

The figures were revealed by chairman Ian Follington as he gave town councillors an update last week.

The BID is currently asking businesses in and around the town for their thoughts ahead of putting together a programme of regeneration following a vote in February in which the majority of businesses have to give their support.

If successful, it will see BID launch in April.

Mr Follington said: “This is about giving the business community a voice. We are going to look at the information, look at the infrastructure and look at how Oswestry is being marketed globally from a business perspective.

“There are a lot of groups that do not work together and BID wants to work on that.”

Despite the feeling the town has declined, the survey also revealed almost 40 per cent of Oswestry businesses envisage growing in the next five years, with almost half estimating they will stay the same size.

Mr Follington said: “It is not a negative message – it is not all doom and gloom. There are a lot of businesses growing or staying the same.”

But he explained there were frustrations as businesses wanted to grow, but do not expect to take on more employees, forcing people to commute.

So far 90 businesses have taken part in the survey, with BID aiming for 200 responses.

Of those, 48 per cent have said they would support a BID, with 43 per cent in the ‘don’t know’ category. Mr Follington said it was that 43 per cent they would be working with.

He added: “The idea is to lift the town over a five, 10 or 15-year period. If any businesses comes into the town they will invest in Oswestry because they will shop in the town and so it works for all.”