BRADFORD College has become the latest major organisation to join the campaign to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city centre.
The support of the College, which has provided further education training for more than 185 years, means Bradford’s “education quarter” is fully behind the initiative which hopes to spend more than £2.5 million on projects to boost the city centre over a five-year period. The University of Bradford is also backing the scheme.
Dawn Leak, Director of Employer Responsiveness (pictured outside the Hockney Building), said: “Bradford College is an integral part of Bradford both as a community and as a business.
“We welcome the opportunity to be part of Bradford’s future investment and we want the College to be seen as a safe, welcoming and great place to learn.
“The city has a lot to offer and if the BID can make Bradford clean, safe and a lively, vibrant place to visit, shop and enjoy its long heritage, then the bid will be worth the investment that businesses put in.”
Ms Leak, a member of the College’s executive team, said an effective BID would also bring benefits for students.
“We want our students to come and study in a vibrant city that has a lot to offer both in terms of work opportunities and social activities,” she said. “Enhancing what Bradford has to offer will hopefully encourage our students from Bradford, and the surrounding areas, to choose the college to study at and enjoy what we have to offer.”
More than 600 city centre-based businesses and organisations – including local and national retailers, leisure and hospitality firms, professional and legal services companies and others – will be balloted on whether the BID should go ahead in September.
If the ballot is successful, they will all pay a levy which will raise more than £2.5 million over the five years of the scheme to pay for projects to improve the city centre.
Ms Leak said she hoped the BID would help to encourage co-operation between businesses and other organisations.
“I hope that in the first year all the businesses and others involved in the BID are working together to develop a shared vision for Bradford and that, when we look back over the first year, we will have improved both the look and feel of the city centre, with cleaner, brighter streets and regular events and activities, and that we have started to raise the footfall into Bradford and put it firmly on the map,” she said.
She urged other businesses and organisations who might be wondering whether to support the campaign to get behind it: “Bradford is where your business is; support Bradford to thrive and enjoy the longer term benefits a lively vibrant city will bring.”
Ian Ward, chair of the BID Development Board, said: “We are thrilled to have the support of Bradford College.
“The students of Bradford’s biggest education providers are a vital part of the economy of the city centre, especially as both the College and the University are situated at the heart of it.
“The BID needs to ensure that the improvements we carry out provide a better environment for all generations and there are already specific projects aimed at enhancing the student experience built into the draft Business Plan.
“The College, its staff and its students are an integral part of what makes the city centre vibrant and we look forward to working with all of them if the BID goes ahead at the end of the year.”
The College and its £50 million campus already scores highly for student satisfaction. In recent Further Education surveys, 98 per cent of students said they were enjoying their course, 96 per cent said they would recommend their course to a friend and 96 per cent said they liked coming to the College.