Sunderland BID Board directors appointed

02 April 2014

The team members who will oversee the programme that is set to transform the centre of Sunderland have been announced. Eighteen board directors have been appointed from local businesses and city stakeholders to oversee the £3.4m to be invested in the city centre Business Improvement District (BID) over the next five years. The BID will also give businesses the chance to capitalise on the estimated £30m of planned new city centre developments by the City Council and its partners.

Andy Bradley, Centre Director of the Bridges Shopping Centre, who will chair the BID Board, welcomed the new appointments: 

‘I am delighted that we have been able to attract these talented, dedicated individuals to drive the Sunderland BID forward. Between them they will bring the key skills and experience needed to meet the challenges ahead, and I am confident that together we will make significant progress to our common goal – to develop a vibrant city centre which will mark out Sunderland as a great place to live, work and visit for people of all ages and interests.

‘Competition from other shopping locations in the region and from online retailers is fierce, so it is vital that we all work together to provide the compelling offer which will bring in shoppers and visitors.’

The majority of the BID Directors are drawn from levy payers in the city centre including retailers Harry Collinson (Collinsons Jewellers), Raymond Reynolds (Greggs), and Stephen Snowball (Argos). Restaurateur Ian Wong (Asiana Fusion), John Craggs (Gentoo Group), Magnus Wilson ((Divine Time (North East) Limited), consultant Ammar Mirza (The Point) and David Place (Mortons Solicitors) also become directors. 

The voluntary sector is represented by Alan Patchett of Age UK Sunderland and there will also be two directors from Sunderland City Council (Cllr Mel Speding and Cllr Henry Trueman). Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth of Northumbria Police will also join the BID Board as an observer.

And recognising the importance of retaining the expertise and knowledge of those who have been working to ensure the success of the BID, the three directors of Sunderland Business Ltd, the organisation behind original BID proposals, have also been appointed to the Board. They are Peter Fidler, Vice-Chancellor of Sunderland University, Gary Hutchinson, Chairman of the North East Chamber of Commerce Sunderland Committee and Commercial Director of SAFC and John Mowbray OBE from Sunderland, who is an experienced non-executive director in a variety of local industries.

In July 2013, Sunderland businesses voted in favour of setting up a BID which will be funded by a 1.5% levy on business rates to pay for a range of improvement initiatives.

The aim of the BID is to promote and improve facilities in Sunderland city centre to make it a more attractive, safer place with events and activities designed to bring in visitors and families. The BID Board, who will work on an unpaid, voluntary basis, will be responsible for ensuring projects are delivered on time and within budget. The organisation that will run the BID is an independent not-for-profit company controlled by the private sector which will employ a small operations team, led by BID chief executive Ken Dunbar who also becomes a Board member.


Additional background information

BID Board Directors
Andy Bradley (Chair) – Centre Director, Bridges Shopping Centre
Harry Collinson - Owner, Collinsons Jewellers
David Place – Partner, Mortons Solicitors
Alan Patchett – Director, Age UK Sunderland
Magnus Wilson – Divine Time (North East) Ltd
Raymond Reynolds – Retail Director, Greggs
Ammar Mirza – The Point
Ian Wong – Manager & Director, Asiana Fusion Restaurant
John Craggs – Deputy Chief Executive, Gentoo Group
Stephen Snowball – Store Manager, Argos
Peter Fidler – Vice Chancellor, Sunderland University
Gary Hutchinson – Commercial Director, SAFC
John Mowbray OBE – Immediate Past President, NECC
Cllr Henry Trueman – Sunderland City Council
Cllr Mel Speding – Sunderland City Council
Ken Dunbar – Chief Executive, Sunderland BID
Kay Blyth (Observer) – Chief Superintendent, Northumbria Police
Observer to be appointed – Sunderland City Council officer