BID company prepares for renewal election

The Liverpool BID Company has started campaigning to convince sufficient numbers of businesses in the commercial district around Old Hall Street, Dale Street and Water Street that the business improvement district has been successful enough in the past five years to vote for another round of levy supplement on rates to continue with the initiative.

The BID company this week launched its 32-page business plan containing 24 action points for spending the £4m that would be raised.

The four themes of the plan aim to “nurture an environment that supports and encourages business growth”.

Key pledges in the plan, which was drafted following consultation with occupiers, pledges to help implement superfast broadband and free wi-fi, a dedicated BID police team, enhanced street washing programme, a new Business Services Directory, healthy work programme, on-street ambassador service, public art programme, among other recommendations.

Around 550 businesses will be invited to vote during a month-long postal ballot, ending on Thursday 17 March. The result will be announced the next day.

If a majority of businesses vote yes and the BID also gets a majority of the rateable value of those votes, the new five-year term will begin on 1 June.

The first round of the BID was secured by a similar vote in May 2011, when the turnout was 33%. Of those voters, 60% supported the BID proposal.

However, one business owner within the Commercial District told Place North West that he supported the Liverpool BID Company in securing votes for the first five-year term, but didn’t plan to do so again. The company boss, who asked not to be named, said that he hadn’t seen any improvements to the more unattractive streets and alleys in the district, and felt that the area was still negatively impacted by mess left behind by visitors to the bars around Dale Street and Stanley Street.

In its first five years, the BID generated more than £3m in additional funding from a 1% levy on rates over the last five years, to be spent on enhanced maintenance, marketing and physical improvements. The constituency contains 60,000 people employed across a range of sectors from creative and digital, legal and financial, to leisure and hospitality.

The Commercial District BID is currently overseeing a £1.6m scheme to improve the public realm in key areas of the district, has been involved in a campaign to install defibrillators for the public and recently hosted Liverpool’s first themed Restaurant Week.

As part of its support to businesses, the BID also annually provides an estimated £7,000 worth of benefits from free promotional space in the city centre, free first aid, security and customer service training to inclusion on the ThIS Liverpool App, which has now been downloaded by more than 10,000 people.

Jim Gill, chairman of the Commercial District BID, said: “The Commercial District is the biggest and most important concentration of business activity in Liverpool and the city region.

“We want to create a Commercial District fit for businesses now and in the future, with enhanced connectivity, a clean, safe, animated environment and the support to help every business thrive.

“It’s an ambitious plan for an ambitious city and with the backing of our partners and businesses we can make the Commercial District a beacon for business excellence.”

Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: “This business plan is rooted in reflecting the needs of our businesses, identifying opportunities for them to grow and tackling the issues they want addressing in the Commercial District.

“Over the past five years the BID has developed a track record of delivering improvements in the city centre which have increasingly grown in scope and scale as we’ve grown to understand its needs. We now have a platform, the confidence and the support of partners to be much bolder in the vision for the next five years and position the Commercial District as a major centre for greater investment and growth.

“This is Liverpool’s pre-eminent business community and they need a voice, an advocate and a champion to highlight their role and ideas for the city’s economy, especially as the next five years present major challenges not least in the cuts to the public purse and the devolution deal.”


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