A NEW business plan aims to "reinvigorate" Brighton's high street after the pandemic and make "a city centre that locals and visitors will want to return to time and time again".

The five-year plan includes measures such as enhanced street cleaning, regularly removing unwanted graffiti and dressing the city using hanging baskets, banners and bunting to give it a "festival feel" in the summertime.

The report has been produced by the team at Brilliant Brighton, the city’s Business Improvement District (Bid) which covers the central area containing 517 shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.

The plan will be put into action if Bid receives enough "yes" votes on the proposals. This would grant the organisation a further five-year term between July 1 this year and June 30 2026 to try and boost business in the city.

However, if it's a majority "no" vote, all Bid activities will stop from June 30.

The report says it aims to "deliver a thriving, safe, clean and vibrant city centre that residents and visitors want to come back to time and again".

But it recognises the immense challenges shops face.

It states: "The great British high street is under unprecedented threat. This existential situation has highlighted the need to come together even more than before.

"Towns and cities across the South East will all be competing aggressively for visitor spend as the rise of online shopping only increases and embeds.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has possibly changed the way we live for a generation, if not for ever. But the Bid provides an opportunity to unite on our shared commitment to succeed and reimagine our city centre as the regional shopping destination on the South Coast, showcasing a glittering array of independent businesses from retail, hospitality and leisure industries."

Bid identified several challenges specific to Brighton which would need to be solved to achieve its goals.

They include the need to create an attractive, clean and safe environment, the fact the city "continues to be seen as difficult to access with expensive parking", the possibility of further antisocial behaviour, and the problem of increasing business closures as a result of the pandemic.

The report states: "Brighton currently remains within the top national retail rankings at number 25, dropping from 22nd place in 2019. We need to stop further movement down the list, and build on it to secure our future as a top shopping destination in the UK."

Bid has five main proposals to counter Brighton's slide down the leaderboard.

These are:

1. Introducing a security service with the addition of night-time support for the late-night economy.

A "daytime" security presence would see two teams of two officers patrolling the Bid area from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday, and between 11am and 5pm on Sundays.

A "night-time" presence would use a mobile support unit with two staff to patrol from the end of the daytime shift to midnight each day.

This, Brilliant Brighton says, could help stop antisocial behaviour and add to the safety of the area, "which will have a knock-on positive effect on individuals visiting during the day".

2. Providing city centre festive lighting displays

Brilliant Brighton has provided the festive lighting displays in the city between November and January for the last five years.

This includes installing bespoke lighting and providing a switch-on event.

Speaking for homeware chain HomeSense, which has a shop near the Clock Tower, Matthew Bristow said: "The Bid adds much-needed colour and fun to the streets of Brighton throughout the year with glorious flowers, cheerful bunting and then the stunning lights at Christmas."

3. Additional jet cleansing and graffiti/sticker removal in the Bid area

Brilliant Brighton plans to offer monthly pressure washing of public city centre areas, weekly removal of graffiti on businesses and stickers from lamp posts, gum removal and vegetation removal.

It would also seek to keep vacant city sites free of graffiti.

A spokesman said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a necessity for public safety. The ability to welcome people to a clean city has been at the forefront of many of our minds.

"In fact, the Bid consultation research has shown that 89 per cent of respondents would like to see additional street cleansing as part of the Bid business plan."

4. Dressing the city during the summer months

Over the past five years, Brilliant Brighton has installed 1,800 metres of bunting, installed over 1,000 hanging baskets on Bid premises and displayed banners from May through to September along Western Road, North Street, Market Street and Bond Street.

During the pandemic, the organisation has also delivered Covid-safe messaging via large on-street banners and floor decals to remind people of social distancing requirements.

The Brilliant Brighton report says: "Now, more than ever, an attractive city centre will create the right atmosphere to attract visitors back post-pandemic.

"This project proposes a mix of brightly coloured summer decorations, floral displays and public service messaging to welcome visitors back whilst encouraging safety during their visit."

Gary Fitzharris of Marks and Spencer praised the proposal. He said: "Banners, bunting and floral displays are all really important to bring additional visual interest to the city."

5. Being responsible for enhanced communications and events

Brilliant Brighton says it has built up a strong online presence through social media and its website, allowing it to reach more than 14,000 "potential customers for no extra cost".

It plans to continue to use these platforms to promote businesses within the Bid. This could also be used to organise and promote events such as late-night shopping, retail trails and more to attract people to the Brilliant Brighton area, working with Bid members and local arts and events organisations.

How will the future of the plan be decided?

Businesses in the Bid area are entitled to cast a vote. If more than half are in favour of the plan, Brilliant Brighton will be given a further five years to carry out its activities in an attempt to help city centre businesses.

Ballot papers are being forwarded to businesses now and votes must be returned by 5pm on May 6.