BUSINESS leaders in Bradford are calling on city centre shops and offices to “be a good neighbour” and spread the word about the planned Business Improvement District.
With more than 630 companies and organisations entitled to vote in the ballot to establish the BID, the team behind the plan to transform the city centre want to make sure that everyone who can vote, does vote.
BID chair Ian Ward told the Telegraph & Argus: “It’s vitally important that everyone has their say because all the eligible businesses will be subject to a levy payment if the ballot goes in favour, whether they’ve voted or not.
“There are so many businesses involved that the best way to ensure everyone knows about it is for every owner to ask his or her neighbour if they’ve heard of the BID and they’re ready to vote when the time comes.
“By being a good neighbour, they can help to ensure nobody misses the ballot and everyone is aware of the benefits the BID can bring to the city centre if it goes ahead.”
He said the BID ballot commences on September 13, when the voting papers are issued by Electoral Reform Services, and ends on October 11. The result will be announced the following day.
“With the school holidays and summer getaways coming up, that realistically only leaves a matter of weeks to ensure that everyone is geared up and ready to vote,” said Mr Ward.
“It’s critically important that we know the correct name and address to send the ballot paper to, so we would ask anyone with a business or office in the city centre to make sure they contact us to check that we have the right details.
“That is especially important where business ratepayers or property owners are based outside of the city.”
The BID needs a majority of those who take part in the ballot, representing at least half of the total rateable value of the area, to “Vote Yes” if it is to go ahead.
If the ballot is successful, the BID will raise more than £2.5 million over five years to spend on projects to improve the city centre. The money is collected in a levy at the same time as business rates but goes straight to the BID so it can provide services over and above those delivered by Bradford Council.
A small business with a rateable value of £15,000 will pay just £3.61 per week; a medium-sized business with a rateable value of £65,000 would pay £15.63 per week; and the weekly cost to a large business with a £150,000 rateable value is £36.06. Businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or below will be exempt.
The BID Business Plan, which was launched last month, shows that the cash will be spent in roughly equal amounts on four key areas, dubbed Clean, Safe, Alive and Promoted. A series of projects under each banner will aim to help ensure the city centre is clean and welcoming, safe and secure at any time of day or night, is brought to life with more events, street markets and entertainment and is widely promoted while giving businesses a united voice to lobby on its behalf.
● Any business that wants to check its details are correct should contact project manager Chris Gregory on 07854 027080 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.