THE people of Oswestry can voice their views on how a major town initiative should move forward.

Oswestry Business Improvement District (BID) will hold an open meeting at the Wynnstay Hotel at 6.30pm on Tuesday, April 23, to gauge views on projects for this year and 2020.

BID manager Adele Nightingale said that levy-paying businesses and those that do not pay are welcome to attend the meeting – as well as town residents.

She added: “It’s an open meeting to give a BID update to let everybody know what we are working on and if anybody has got any questions or any ideas that they would like to bring.”

Eligible businesses pay a levy to the BID which provides an annual fund of around £200,000 to invest in the area.

BID chiefs will update attendees on investigations work to provide free Wi-Fi, footfall data, a website and possibly additional CCTV cameras.

The project is also working with Oswestry Town Council and Borderland Tourism on plans to improve signage and maps around the town.

Earlier this year, Jane Rees, of the Oak Furniture Shop on Bailey Street, criticised BID saying officials had ignored the desires of business owners in the town when it comes to spending the funds after it was announced £10,000 of the fund would go towards the Oswestry Balloon Carnival.

“It’s being run by people who don’t even have businesses in the town centre,” she said. “A few of us in the area went up to a meeting at the town hall and told them we need tourist information in the town centre, we need better signage, we need maps, we want free parking – that’s what we want and what we think would help to bring people into the town centre all year round.

“The balloon festival is a great idea – yes we had more people in the town last year and yes we have an increased footfall, but it’s too high risk.”

Today, Anne-Marie Clark of Fifty Shades of Tan, also voiced concerned about the BID scheme and labelled it “unfair”.

“Small businesses need to be given a chance and we need to have an input on how this money is spent” she said.

Anyone who wants to attend the meeting should email to confirm their attendance.