THE campaign to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) in Bradford city centre has brought together some of the district’s top firms in support.
More than 630 businesses and other organisations – from independent shops to chain stores, from professional services firms to hotels, bars and restaurants, from museums to education providers – have been asked to vote on the plan to raise £2.5 million to improve the city centre over the next five years.
Organisations that have thrown their weight behind the BID scheme include: The Broadway and Kirkgate shopping centres, the University of Bradford, Bradford College, Yorkshire Building Society, Provident Financial, the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford Breakthrough, QED, City Training Services, Bradford Chamber of Commerce, Freemans Grattan, Napoleon’s Casino, Schofield Sweeney, Gordons LLP, Sunbridge Wells, Exa Networks, Marios hairdressers and Little Germany Action.
The plans have attracted huge support from the leisure and hospitality industry where enthusiastic supporters include the Great Victoria and Midland Hotels, the Ginger Goose, City Vaults and Old Bank pubs, Tiffin Coffee, Wallers Brewery, Kala Sangam arts centre, Impressions Gallery, East Street Arts, The Brick Box, to name but a few.
And even some big organisations outside the BID’s geographical area have backed it and pledged financial support, including Bradford City, Bradford Bulls and Sovereign Health.
With just hours to go to the end of voting in the ballot (which closes at 5pm tomorrow [thu]), the BID development team are urging any business that hasn’t voted to do so urgently.
And they’ve issued a reminder of some of the “really great reasons” why the BID will benefit the city:
All eligible businesses in Bradford would pay a small sum into a collective fund to spend locally on actions to improve the city centre’s trading environment.
All money collected on behalf of the BID by the Council (through a business rates levy) will be handed over to the BID (which would be run by local business people) and reinvested back into Bradford.
The BID would help to increase footfall in the city centre, encouraging more people to spend more time there, as well as spend more money during their visits.
There would be a consistent and known amount of funding to brand and market the city centre far more extensively against an agreed development plan.
Additional funds, over and above the income from the business rates levy, would be sought to give even better value for money to every single levy-payer.
The BID would seek increased business from extended hours trading and a deliberate policy of sourcing services and materials from Bradford wherever possible.
The BID would promote new investment into the city centre, helping to raise its quality and overall appearance and attracting new start-up businesses into empty units.
Key Performance Indicators would be determined for every planned activity and would be reported regularly as part of the BID’s constant communications to stakeholders.
Particular attention would be paid to providing an on-street presence and helping to reduce business loss through criminal damage, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.
The BID plans to work closely with the Council and other major employers to ensure that the vibrancy of the city centre remains a strong reason to attract and retain quality staﬀ.
Ian Ward, chair of the BID development board, said: “The BID plans have had some fantastic support from many of Bradford’s biggest companies and organisations, some of the major players in the city and some of our biggest employers.
“It’s clear that there are many people who believe the BID can have a really important impact on the future of the city centre.
“But we’re never complacent. We want as many people as possible to see the benefits the BID could bring and show their support by voting in the ballot.
“But time is fast running out and I would urge anyone who believes in the BID to get their vote in immediately if they haven’t done so already.”
There are more than 320 BIDs in operation around the UK with hundreds more running across the world, from Canada – where the first one was launched in the 1970s – and the United States to large parts of Europe. There are currently almost 50 further BID schemes being planned and prepared for ballot.
There are already BIDs in Leeds, Manchester, York, Halifax, Wakefield, Skipton, Otley and Keighley and work is underway on a new BID for Ilkley.
“BIDs have achieved a huge amount across the UK, bringing major benefits to towns and city centres,” said Mr Ward. “So many places can’t be wrong – and now it’s Bradford’s turn!”