IF THE BID goes ahead, its five-year term will be governed by its Business Plan which was brought together after months of consultation with city centre businesses by the BID development board (some of whom are pictured above).
As part of a feasibility study carried out at the end of 2017, when 70 per cent of those who responded said they felt the BID was good idea, businesses were asked what they felt were the issues that needed to be tackled in the city centre.
Their answers were used to draw together a plan of action which was split into four key “pillars” – Safe, Clean, Alive and Promoted. Some of the key aims and projects are set out below:
Marketing and promoting the city centre, bringing in more visitors and encouraging investment will be right at the top of the BID’s agenda.
Diana Greenwood, senior tourism development officer at Visit Bradford, who chaired the group that worked on the Promoted pillar, said: “One of the most effective things a BID can do is to raise the profile of its area outside the city, improving its image and helping to bring in more people who, in turn, can help to spread the word about Bradford being a great place to visit, shop and enjoy their leisure time.”
Projects to encourage investment in the city centre included targeted marketing of Bradford as a place in which to “work, play and stay,” repositioning it more strongly as tourist destination for short breaks and experiences and supporting and developing the City of Film brand which has been highly successful in attracting TV programme and film makers.
The BID would work alongside other organisers to supplement events in City Park, ensuring footfall is spread across the city centre, and encourage would-be investors to realise its potential. It would also encourage greater lobbying, representation and championing of the city.
Bradford-born celebrities would be asked to help endorse and promote the city’s brand and the BID would seek to create support from other northern cities, especially in the Leeds City Region, and their representatives.
The BID would also strive to work more with tourism partnerships, such as Visit England and Visit Britain to promote the city and its attractions on a national and international scale and encourage those who visit shows to stay overnight and explore the city more.
Ms Greenwood: “It’s really important to work with established organisations and others to ensure that there is a consistent message going out to promote Bradford to a local, regional, national and international audience.”
The BID will help Bradford “come alive with new events and entertainment” designed to bring people back into the city centre and instil a new sense of civic pride.
One of the key goals is to ensure the city centre is a vibrant area and a place people can enjoy all year round. The BID plans to help build on the success of existing events and to introduce a programme of extra activities to draw in many more visitors and shoppers.
Alive pillar chair Si Cunningham, who also chairs Bradford Civic Society, said: “There are a lot of people doing a lot of very positive things for Bradford at the moment, from the Council investing in our heritage to small businesses and arts groups choosing to make the city centre their home.
“The next logical step is to find a way to bring it all together.”
The BID will support new seasonal events including more regular, quality outdoor craft, food, speciality and cultural markets to benefit a range of areas in the city centre. More Christmas activities could include a new annual Festival of Light, working with event partners to incorporate the Illuminate Bradford and the switch on of the Christmas Lights.
The BID would aim to make more of Bradford’s heritage through the introduction of initiatives such as vintage bus trips around the city centre, heritage trails and City of Film tours.
It would develop and support events to make more use of public space and work in partnership with local organisations to create a new annual awards event to celebrate the very best of retail and leisure.
There would be more street entertainment and the BID would create more public art, through professionally-curated art installations and trails, and visitor routes would be set up around the city centre, possibly with new lighting.
Giving the city centre a new shine will be one of the top priorities if the BID plan goes ahead.
Hot-washing the streets, removing the chewing gum menace, improving the appearance of empty shop units and applying anti-graffiti coatings in key areas are just a few of the projects that are likely to be tackled.
Jonny Noble, Bradford’s city centre manager, who chaired the Clean group, said: “It’s really important to remember that the BID will not be here to do the job that the Council is already doing.
“The local authority has to provide a certain level of service and will be committed to continuing to do so in a legally-binding agreement. So what we have been doing is working out what the BID can bring that is over and above the basic cleaning that the streets already receive.”
To improve the appearance of empty shops, the BID aims to Introduce attractive vinyl wrapping and animation on long-term empty units; liaise with landlords to make them aware of issues with their property early so they can act to stop them falling into disrepair; remove fly-posting and graffiti and gather evidence for possible enforcement action; deep-clean vacant doorways and entrances and introduce a cleaning programme for problem windows and door frontages.
The streets will be subject to a rolling programme of hot-washing and there will be a proactive cleansing regime every morning with a special focus on removing debris left by rough sleepers or late-night revellers. And business owners should also be able to call on a service clean up hazardous waste if they spot it.
Other clean-up projects would include a special team to remove graffiti and fly-tipped rubbish, a scheme to monitor and improve trouble-spots, and working with partners to create awareness and improvement campaigns and organise events such as BID community clean-up days.
Efforts to tackle false perceptions of high levels of crime will be high on the list for the BID.
Their survey showed more than 70 per cent of those who took part felt visitors to the city centre were put off by the idea that crime levels were high.
“The reality is that crime is no worse here than in any other major city and, in fact, actual crime levels in the city centre are very low,” said Dave West, chairman of Little Germany Action Ltd, who chaired the Safe pillar group. “The aim of the BID will be to help ensure the city centre feels like a safe place to visit at any time of day or night.
“One of the biggest challenges, though, will be to tackle the negative perceptions and communicate better to people that Bradford is already one of the safer big city centres.”
Key projects include working alongside existing agencies and initiatives to reduce anti-social behaviour and share intelligence to help prevent it; ensuring the city centre is marketed and promoted as a safe place to visit.
The BID will work with partners to explore new technology that is available to make the city centre a safer place and employ a team of ambassadors, who will have a pronounced role around providing additional security and a welcome to the city centre.
It aims to work closely with the University of Bradford and Bradford College to further promote the Student Safe Spot scheme and investigate the development of city centre lighting schemes to make darker areas feel safer.
Among the other proposals is a project to deliver the prestigious Purple Flag status, which recognises a well-managed evening economy with high standards and best-practice and the BID also hopes to resurrect and develop the Pubwatch scheme with the police and licensed premises.