A campaign has been launched to create a Business Improvement District in the commercial quarter of Liverpool city centre.
More than 800 landlords and tenants will be balloted on the proposal, which aims to generate in excess of £600,000 a year to pay for marketing, maintenance and physical improvements through a levy equivalent to 1% of business rates.
The application for BID status, which must be approved by central government, was launched by Liverpool Commercial District Partnership.
Paul Rice, chief executive of Liverpool CDP, said: "At a time when austerity has become the buzzword for public funding, we must ensure that the investment pipeline remains open in Liverpool if the city and the commercial district are to continue to thrive. Consequently, it falls upon the private sector to lead us out of recession through greater cohesion and a clear direction for building upon the tremendous work that's already been done."
Jack Stopforth, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, based in the CBD on Old Hall Street, and Downtown Liverpool chairman Frank McKenna, whose office is on Water Street, also in the affected area, are both backing the application and will promote the BID ahead of an official proposal to Liverpool City Council in autumn 2010 and a final ballot in spring 2011.
Rice added: "We intend to engage widely with businesses throughout the area, spelling out how they can benefit from BID status and outlining a clear, transparent plan for change and essential improvements across the entire area."
The proposed new BID area would be Liverpool's second following the successful retail-led 'city central' application five years ago. It would be bounded by Leeds Street in the north and James Street in the south and run from east-west from The Strand to Pall Mall, mirroring the boundaries of the Liverpool CDP.
Eligible voters have been invited to a breakfast event at Radisson Blu Hotel on Tuesday 29 June, where a panel of business leaders led by John Flamson, director of strategic partnerships and development at The University of Liverpool, will debate the challenges and opportunities around BID status.