Developing the environment and conditions in which businesses can thrive is crucial to the future of Bradford city centre.
Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) says helping to achieve that goal will be a major part of its Business Plan if it succeeds in securing a second five-year term.
Chairman Ian Ward, who is also General Manager of The Broadway shopping centre, said: “Every town and city centre has faced multiple challenges with the change in shopping habits and the growth of online marketplaces and Bradford is no exception.
“Over the last five years, the BID has built an excellent reputation for its business support and advice and we will aim to build on those achievements and accelerate progress, utilising initiatives such as City of Culture, Bradford Live and the new Darley Street Market to develop projects to encourage further investment.
“We will continue to support promotion of the city centre, encourage new partnerships and new approaches to bring in more visitors and encourage greater local spend, and we will aim to forge even stronger relationships with member businesses and build a more assertive city centre business community, lobbying and advocating on their behalf.”
The BID is a limited not-for-profit company funded by a small levy on businesses and organisations within a specified area of the city. Its first term will end later this year and it is launching a ballot at the end of this month to secure its future to the end of 2028. Almost 600 levy-paying businesses and organisations will be asked to support the BID by voting “Yes” in the ballot which closes on September 28.
The £2.5 million total levy pot will be spent on schemes to improve the city centre under three key Business Plan objectives: creating A Positive Environment, Better for Business and A Vibrant Experience. The Better for Business strategies outlined in the Plan include:
Enact projects to encourage further investment into the city centre
Oversee marketing and promotion activities to project the city centre to a far wider audience
Arrange business updates, networking events and staff training focusing on specific sector needs
Provide business growth advice or support to existing and potential new member businesses
Co-ordinate greater lobbying, representation and championing of the city centre
Continue to promote the city centre gift card scheme to reach a wider audience, increasing direct spend into BID member businesses
The BID’s new ballot timetable Legally, all BIDs need to be established via a ballot of eligible business and the vote is conducted entirely by post over a 28-day period. The votes will be sent to either the tenant of the business or the landlord (in the case of vacant units), within the BID boundary and Civica Election Services will be carrying out the voting process.
The key dates are:
August 31 – ballot papers issued
September 28 – Ballot Day, the last day by which votes must be received
September 29 – Results announced
For the BID proposal to be successful, there are two requirements which must be met: A majority of those who vote must have voted in favour; and The total rateable values of the business properties who vote Yes must exceed that of those who voted No.