“LET’S back Bradford BID and see where it takes us!”
That’s the message from the chairman of the Bradford Economic Partnership (BEP) who is throwing his weight behind efforts to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in Bradford city centre.
David Baldwin (pictured), the former director of operations at Bradford City AFC and now chief executive of Burnley football club, says the BID can “only be a good thing” for the city.
“Anyone who’s unsure about whether or not to vote ‘Yes’ in the coming ballot should think of the BID as working as a collective with a clear vision for bringing about improvement,” said Mr Baldwin.
“That can only be a good thing and we should back it and see where it takes us!”
He said the BID would bring “a more collaborative working relationship with all the stakeholders as well as delivering the physical improvements of co-ordinated event-based attractions, cleaner streets and a better night-time economy.”
“Place Marketing” is a key strand of the “Made In Bradford” strategy being developed by the BEP, which brings together senior leaders from business and other key organisations to oversee and drive the delivery of the district’s growth agenda.
“The BID can help deliver this by ensuring all the stakeholders buy into a ‘one voice for Bradford’ mentality, so that we are all then working together to reinforce the positives of Bradford,” said Mr Baldwin.
Last month, he told a meeting of more than 100 people who had contributed to “Team Bradford” in the last year that positive developments in the district meant it was due for a renaissance similar to the one undergone by the England football team in this summer’s World Cup.
He said: “It is not necessarily about bringing new businesses to Bradford, it can be about helping the existing businesses here to grow. We have to have everyone’s noses in the right direction. We need to sing the praises of what we have done as a district.”
Mr Baldwin said the BID was an important part of the picture: “By the end of the BID’s first term, I would like it to have a bank of positive reference points of successful events – such as Christmas events or summer events – with people saying ‘Remember when….?’ where coming into the city centre means having a whole experience of eat, drink, play and shop.”
The BID project, which would deliver £2.5 million of improvements over five years, goes to a ballot from September 13 to October 11, when more than 630 businesses and other city-centre based organisations will be asked to vote in favour of a levy of up to 1.25 per cent on their business rates. The proceeds would be spent on four key “pillars” – Safe, Clean, Alive and Promoted – to improve the safety, cleanliness, vitality and marketing of Bradford’s retail heart.
Mr Baldwin’s comments were welcomed by Ian Ward, chairman of the BID development board.
“It’s great to have the support of Dave Baldwin and the Economic Partnership,” he said. “They clearly believe that improving the city centre offer is a key part of the district’s wider growth and development and that the BID can be a star player in helping Team Bradford to the top of the league of great places in which to live and work.”