Manchester’s city centre Business Improvement District is to run for a second five-year term.
BIDs are precisely defined geographical areas where businesses work together and invest in agreed services, projects and special events and are financed by a levy made on the basis of rateable value, usually between 1% and 1.5%.
The renewal ballot of members, which number around 400 retail, food and other customer-focused businesses in the central shopping area, saw 77% of voters back the continuation of Manchester BID, which means it will now run until at least 2023.
Turnout was 43%, with 176 votes being cast, three of which were rejected. This is not atypical; according to trade organisation British BIDS in January 2017, the UK average turnout for BID ballots is 47%.
The new term means an additional £6m can be committed to spending over the next five years. Businesses covered by the BID include those in and around Deansgate, King Street, Cross Street, St Ann’s Square, Market Street, New Cathedral Street and Manchester Arndale.
Since its 2013 establishment, the Manchester BID has delivered on four key objectives, it said: increasing footfall in ‘dip’ periods with a programme of events; increasing standards in the trading environment, including operational and security support; increasing the profile of the city through promotional partnerships and marketing campaigns; and acting as a lobbying voice for retail at a civic level.
Visitor spend has increased over the initial five-year period, while the city has bucked a national trend by increasing footfall both in daytime and evening. Events the BID has added include Hallowe’en in the City and a series of student-focused projects.
Jane Sharrocks, chairman of Manchester BID, said: “After an incredibly successful five years we’re absolutely delighted to continue the BID’s work with a second term. At the heart of everything we’ve done has been building our community of 400 businesses.
“Their collaborative approach, commitment and willingness to work together has been key to the success of the BID so far and will be invaluable as we go forward over the next few years.”
BIDs now exist in almost 300 locations in the UK, 240 of those being town or city centre BIDs. Unsurprisingly, being a method of funding services with no serious finance required from the Treasury, central government is a keen exponent, setting up a loan fund to cover start-up costs for new BIDs during the Cameron-led coalition government.