Business bosses came together this morning to launch the ballot for Leicester’s Business Improvement District.
Nearly 750 businesses in the city centre have been consulted on the project.
Plans for the BID were drawn up by a steering group of 25 businesses, small and large, ranging from Haymarket Shopping Centre, John Lewis in Highcross and Marks & Spencer in Gallowtree Gate, to Pick Everard in Charles Street, Lumbers in High Street, Delilah Fine Foods in St Martins and 23 Wine & Whiskey in Granby Street.
They are urging all the companies within the BID area, which stretches from the railway station in the east, to the Holiday Inn and Showcase Cinema to the west of the city, to vote yes to the proposal.
Vote yes for the BID
Ballot forms have been sent out to all the firms within the BID area and the deadline to return them is 5pm on November 2.
Duncan Green, managing partner of Pick Everard said: “The BID has gone forward with proper preparation and consultation to put it in the best position for a positive outcome.
“City centre businesses have come together to properly agree what’s best for them and for the collective wellbeing of the city.”
John Kyprianou, branch manager of M&S in Leicester city centre, said: “The exciting part for me is that the businesses will decide how the money will be spent.”
Leicester’s BID area includes businesses in the retail, commercial, leisure and hospitality sectors, recognising the role played by all city centre businesses in creating a vibrant city centre, both day and night.
Funds will be raised from firms within the BID area, based on a 1.25 per cent levy on business rates, payable by firms with a rateable value of £20,000 plus.
BID Leicester received a £50,000 loan from the Department for Communities and Local Government to help progress the bid to ballot stage.
Dominic Gomersall, managing director of Lumbers, said: “With the huge changes that we continue to witness in Leicester city centre, the BID brings an opportunity to embrace the retail improvements and build on Leicester being a leading Midlands city.
“It will give the city centre focus and the prospect to improve the independent retail experience to visitors and shoppers alike.”
Already established in more than 200 towns and cities throughout the UK, BIDs are business-led and business-funded partnerships that complement the work of local councils in promoting and improving commercial areas.
If successful, BID Leicester will form a company to turn its vision into reality. The team behind BID Leicester have already surveyed more than 350 city businesses and appointed Central Management Solutions as a specialist urban transformation consultant on the project.
Supporting the BID
BID Leicester has three main goals:
To create a clean, safe and attractive environment. This includes working with landlords to ensure the presentation of empty units is improved.
To raise the profile of Leicester as a destination of choice through consistent and high quality marketing to attract investment and visitors to the city.
To provide a strong voice for Leicester businesses together with support for start-ups and a collective buying initiative.