THE LAST chance for city centre businesses to vote in the Bradford BID ballot is fast approaching.
Postal voting to determine whether the Business Improvement District will go ahead has been taking place since September 13 but the ballot closes at 5pm this Thursday.
Ian Ward, chairman of the BID development board and general manager of The Broadway shopping centre, said there was still a long way to go before all the potential votes were in.
“It’s in the nature of things that some people like to leave it until the last moment before dealing with paperwork like this but the clock is ticking,” said Mr Ward.
“We know there are still a good many people who could vote and it’s important they have their say.
“Obviously, we want them to Vote Yes! because we believe the BID is vitally important for the city centre’s future and we know very many businesses are behind the plan.
“But business owners should not take it for granted that we’ll automatically get a Yes vote. If you support the plan then please tick that box on the voting form and send it back as quickly as you can!”
The BID hopes to raise more than £2.5 million to spend on city centre improvements over the next five years. If the ballot gives it a green light, all 630 businesses in the city centre will pay a small levy based on their business rates, even if they haven’t voted.
Businesses with a rateable value of less than £12,000 will not pay but a small business with an RV of, say, £15,000 would pay just 51p per day.
“A huge amount of hard work has gone into the business plan for the proposed BID and it’s taken more than 18 months to get to this point,” said Mr Ward. “When we asked businesses what they thought of the idea of setting up a BID in the city centre, 70 per cent said they were in favour and the business plan was brought together on the back of their ideas for projects to improve the area.
“We believe those businesses are still in favour but it’s important that they make that support count by voting in the ballot.”
The result of the vote should be known on Friday afternoon.
If it goes ahead, the BID will be formally established as a company limited by guarantee and should be in place before Christmas with its work starting in earnest in the New Year.
During its five-year term, it will work on improving the cleanliness and general appearance of the city centre, help to ensure it feels safe and inviting, organise and support new attractions and events, market and promote the city to local, regional and national audiences and provide a voice for businesses to lobby for more investment.