Despite a low turnout that saw only 289 votes cast, the ballot for Liverpool's second Business Improvement District resulted in approval for plans to charge businesses in the commercial district a supplementary rate in return for improved services.
Around 60% of voters supported the BID proposal. Turnout in the BID area – bounded by Leeds Street, James Street, Strand and Pall Mall – was 33%. The rateable value of the yes vote was £16.7m, compared to £7.3m against. The total rateable value of the businesses eligible to vote – those with more than £10,000 a year rateable value – was £63.3m.
The result was announced last night by Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, regeneration portfolio holder in the Labour cabinet of Liverpool City Council.
Kennedy said BID status will generate more than £3m in additional funding over the next five years for enhanced maintenance, marketing and physical improvements.
He added: "It will mean companies have a greater influence over how they would like the business district to look and feel, with additional resources available to make those ambitions a reality."
The application for BID status for the business district – the retail core around Church Street already had the status – was led by Liverpool Commercial District Partnership. Paul Rice, chief executive of Liverpool CDP, said: "We've all worked really hard over the past five years to put projects in place to improve the area, and we can now look forward to seeing the commercial district continue to thrive.
"The 'yes' vote means that we can implement the many improvements laid down in the business plan such as creating a safer, cleaner environment, improving transport access and attracting investment."
More than 800 ratepayers were balloted on the BID proposal, which seeks to raise more than £600,000 a year through a levy equivalent to 1% of rateable value.
David Guest, chairman of Liverpool CDP, said: "Liverpool's business community has acknowledged that the creation of a commercial district BID, with its focus on a truly world class business district, can deliver increased commercial activity for existing businesses and help to attract new business to the entire city region."