Simon Binns

Binns to manage Business Improvement District

David McCourt

Former journalist Simon Binns has been appointed BID manager for Manchester's first Business Improvement District, which launches later this month.

Binns, who started his new £40,000-a-year job this week, previously held roles at BBC North West Tonight, Crain's Manchester Business, and most recently, property title Estates Gazette.

Funded by the retailers, the Heart of Manchester BID will deliver customer service and promotional initiatives worth £1m a year, over a five-year period, aimed at increasing footfall and retail spend in Manchester city centre.

The BID encompasses an area from King Street to Manchester Arndale and takes in Cross Street, St Ann's Square, New Cathedral Street, Market Street and part of Deansgate. The area covers around 380 businesses in total, but only those with a rateable value of over £50,000 or higher are members of the BID.

Binns spent 12 years as a journalist in Manchester. He said: "We want to keep Manchester one step ahead and the BID will ensure we do this by allowing us to plan and deliver events and activity that will make the city centre even more attractive to visitors.

"I will be working on behalf of the retailers to ensure the BID activity has a direct impact on their bottom line and that it reflects the ambitions and aspirations of Manchester city centre."

Jane Sharrocks, general manager of Selfridges Exchange Square and chairman of the BID company, said: "It's great to have Simon on board to drive this new initiative forward. He's in tune with how Manchester works and knows the retail and wider business community well.

"His energy and drive will be vital in bringing forward this ambitious programme of activity designed to ensure continued economic prosperity for the city. The BID seeks to celebrate Manchester, to make it a more engaging and accessible place to visit and in which to do business. We want to strengthen the brand and build on our reputation as the UK's best regional destination for shopping."

The BID is financed by a levy made of the basis of rateable value. The levy is 1% for businesses within Manchester Arndale, and 1.25% for those outside of Manchester Arndale.

Agreement to launch a BID in Manchester was made through a ballot in November 2012.

The Heart of Manchester BID is an independent not-for-profit company governed by a board of city centre retailers and stakeholders.

The business plan has been agreed during an 18-month consultation period and will be delivered on behalf of the BID company by CityCo, Manchester's city centre management company, reporting to the BID board.

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Lets see if he can do more than just write about property

By Miss N. Bonni

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