City businesses have approved the establishment of a Business Improvement District for the Cheapside Area. The BID Ballot was held between 13 March and 10 April 2015 and returned a clear majority in favour of the BID Proposals with an 84% yes vote by number and an 89% yes vote by rateable value. The turnout for the ballot was 39%. The BID Ballots result demonstrates that there is a strong appetite from the business community to work in partnership with the City Corporation in delivering the BID Proposals
The BID arrangements took effect on 11 May and will be maintained for five years, after which another Ballot would have to be held and approved in order for the BID to continue for a further five years.
The area covered by the BID extends from St Paul’s cathedral to the Bank of England and includes the whole of the Ward of Cordwainer.
The BID entails raising a modest levy on businesses through the rating system to be used for specified projects in the area. The business rate multiplier is set at 0.25% together with a threshold of excluding properties falling below a rateable value of £180,000 and a capped contribution of businesses paying no more than £3,750. The rates have been set to ensure that the contributions are seen as being affordable.
Five project areas have been identified:
a.Employment enterprise and training.
Projects include the BID will working in partnership with the ‘Heart of the City’ programme to provide free support in developing CSR programmes and providing a dedicated employment service to place local people in to jobs.
a.Environment, signage and way finding.
Projects include looking at enhancing the street signage and information given to businesses to improve way finding; developing projects to provide green infrastructure in the area; and seeking to contribute to the integration of new strategies and developments such as the Bank Area Strategy and Bloomberg development.
a.Tourism and culture.
Projects include working with the City Corporation Cultural and Visitor Development Team and City Information Centre to promote the area and providing an on-street ambassadorial programme to welcome and orientate tourists.
a.Marketing and promotion
Projects include continuing to deliver a successful Privilege Card scheme; developing a website and a social media platform for member businesses and sending regular newsletters to inform members of what is happening locally.
a.Business awareness and networking opportunities.
Projects include hosting corporate networking events and retail symposiums; monitoring activity in the area to include footfall and sales data; providing a focus for matters relating to enterprise in the area; and providing a focus for discussions with the City Corporation and City Police through running bespoke events to inform on issues such as cyber-crime and economic crime.
Over a five-year period of the BID, the levy will generate an income of £1.85 million with additional voluntary contributions (from property owners) generating an estimated additional income of £500,000.
The BID will be managed by a board made up from the local business community, and will be supported by an executive team made up of a Chief Executive, an Operations Manager and an Administrator who will be contracted by the City.