After a fantastic career that started as a highways engineer, moving up the ranks to become City Centre Manager for Liverpool, Peter Lewis, was happy to move into an early retirement three years ago to pursue his loves of sailing and family life. Just as he was settling into a daily routine of rest and relaxation, Peter received a call that was to put this lifestyle on hold for the foreseeable future. We caught up with Peter during his busy schedule to ask him a few questions about the highlights of what has been an extremely successful year…
So how did Peter land his position as Chester City Centre Manager?:
“I had worked with CH1ChesterBID Chief Executive, Rita Waters, in Liverpool when she was managing the Liverpool BID. The BID had done great things for Liverpool and Rita called me to explain that is was set to do the same for Chester. I knew it was something I just had to get involved with and decided to apply for the role as Chester City Centre Manager.
“Chester is a truly beautiful city and I suppose part of the appeal was that it was a small city with BIG potential. After a thorough interview process for the position, I quickly realised that there was a lot of work to do, but was inspired by the inspirational team of entrepreneurs, professionals and ‘Chestercentrics’ on the BID Board that were determined to make it work.”
What were Peter’s first impressions of the city?
“Chester was without doubt one of the cleanest cities I had ever visited. Watching school children cross roads to put their rubbish in bins, says a lot about a city.”
Peter’s determination to help support the City and those businesses within it has been evident from the outset. Peter continues: “A barrier appeared to have been building between the businesses and the council. Many of the smaller businesses had been crying out for help and support, so part of the challenge has been to bring those two parties together.”
What are the key changes that Peter made to Chester in the last 12 months?
Since his position began, Peter believes that one of the single most important parts of his role has been to get out onto the streets and talk to the businesses of Chester.
“Key to my plan was setting up a City Centre Manager group, connecting the council and city centre businesses. The council are listening to what the businesses have to say and actioning important work.”
“I think that it is important for people, more specifically the independent businesses, to feel part of a community. It is this community spirit, connecting businesses and bodies like the council, as well as all of the hard work that CH1ChesterBID are putting in to help promote the city and drive footfall, that is turning things around.”
What is Peter’s favourite part of the job and what has been his proudest moment as City Centre Manager?
“Without doubt my favourite part of the job is getting out on the street and meeting the people and businesses of Chester.
“My proudest moment as City Centre Manager was when we got the YES vote for CH1ChesterBID with an overwhelming majority. That positive energy remains and says very clearly that Chester has a great future as we all pull together in the City.”