Bath BID is an organisation set up to help promote the city’s business community and this has a practical element to it as well. Footpaths in front of shops can be kept clean with a jet wash, BID volunteer ‘Ambassadors’ greet visitors in the street, and many shopping areas are annually decorated with planters full of real flowers.
Just recently some new ones were locally made – using wood not plastic – and the plants locally sourced. They were originally purchased to go alongside seating at the Bus Station but were temporarily relocated as part of the Jubilee decorations.
Temporary fingerposts – in Jubilee purple – were added in response to businesses telling the BID how visitors were experiencing difficulties in finding their way around.
One of the more ‘hidden’ areas of the city – full of shops and cafes – are the narrow lanes behind the High Street and – in response again to businesses located there – Bath BID made a new sign – for the temporary posts – pointing to ‘The Lanes’ to see if that might tempt the tourists down them and increase footfall.
Bath BID’s Chief Executive is Allison Herbert and she told Bath Newseum that she had been personally shocked by the reactions of a small minority of local people using social media to voice their disapproval of the new street furniture and the ‘naming’ of a new area. She told me one ‘tweeter’ had even threatened violence and another said she was ‘enraged’.
An extreme reaction to a branding initiative and one that l have always thought a very good idea. There is room in an ancient city for new things too!
I met Allison in one of ‘The Lanes’ to talk though this whole episode.