Plans are gathering pace for a major arts partnership to help boost Weymouth's economy.

Businesses and arts organisations joined forces for a high-level meeting to look at collaboration - with presenter and Weymouth resident Paul Atterbury revealing that it is hoped a collaboration such as the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate could be a future project in the resort.

Mr Atterbury, of Antiques Roadshow fame, is a director of Bounce Back Arts, which was invited by Weymouth BID to meet with business owners and the community group WeyProgress to look at how other BIDs across the UK have stimulated their economies through arts projects.

He and fellow Bounce Back Arts directors Nicky Whittenham and Jan Biggs presented the merits of including arts projects in BID business plans to the group.

Claudia Moore, chief operating officer of Weymouth BID, said “I really enjoyed the presentation. Weymouth has a rich history and its architecture is admired around the world. I learnt a lot from the presentation and I look forward to working more with Bounce Back.”

Nicky, who is the founding director of Bounce Back Arts, said: “With internet shopping sounding the death knell for high streets across the country Weymouth is in desperate need of an alternative ‘offer’. A high quality, cultural environment - which matches that of the Borough’s outstanding natural environment - will help boost the area’s local economy and encourage visitors to return, again and again. Bounce Back is working with other community partners to develop a cultural vision for the town. The organisation uses robust commissioning processes to engage experienced artists’ in the design of high quality public places, based upon the aspirations of the community. It’s all about creating a contemporary celebration of our rich, local heritage which, attracts a new demographic of culture tourist to the area. I was delighted that Paul Atterbury, was able to join us for the presentation. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the organisation and we are fortunate to have him on board.”

Mr Atterbury added: “Weymouth is a sleeping giant in terms of architecture. It has got so much more to give than just being seen as a bucket and spade resort and we must not forget that within the borough of Weymouth and Portland, Portland is the place that made the city of London with its famous Portland stone. What we would really like to do is develop a sense of place based on Weymouth and Portland’s history and then build a campaign around creating reasons to visit Weymouth.

“We recently visited the Turner Contemporary museum in Margate, with a view to attracting a major cultural partner (Tate Galleries, in Margate’s case), to develop a similar collaboration for Weymouth.”

The Weymouth BID and Bounce Back Arts are planning to involve Weymouth businesses and the wider community in the development of future projects.

The Weymouth BID Board continues to look for new directors and steering group members to come forward from the business community to ensure that a good cross section of business sectors are represented on the board, in particular they are looking for representation from independent retail businesses and the service sector.

Anyone interested should apply to or contact the BID Office on 01305 779410.