Voting has begun on a new Business Improvement District (BID) proposal with the aim of enhancing Bristol city centre. Co-ordinators hope to create a £6m fund for investment in the area spanning the Harbourside, Park Street, City Centre and Broadmead over a 5-year term. Voting will close on July 5.
BIDs are a chance for organisations in the public and private sector to jointly fund development projects that better their local area. After widespread consultation within the business community to gauge needs, the Bristol City Centre BID development team pulled together a list of priorities in a business plan.
Proposed improvements for the city centre include a consolidated waste scheme to bring down costs while improving air quality and traffic flows, better signage, tackling anti-social behaviour, management of vacant premises, a programme of cultural events, and improving the attractiveness of the area.
Any organisation with a rateable value of £25,000 or above is able to go to ballot and if over 50% of the votes are in favour of the plan it goes ahead. If successful, all companies above the threshold will be required to pay an annual levy – 1.5 per cent of their rateable value – towards improvements. The results will be revealed next month.
The City Centre BID area includes all the key commercial areas north of the Floating Harbour and its focus is that “Bristol remains at the forefront of the core cities whilst continuing to be one of the most attractive places to live and work in the UK”. The themes of Bristol’s BID are “improving the city’s safety, improving the welcome, improving the look and feel, promoting our success and acting in your best interest”.
Bristol City Centre’s BID is one of 270 around the UK which hope to improve cities and prospects for the businesses operating within them, rather than delivering services that should be provided by a public body like the local council. It is the fifth in the city, alongside existing BIDs already in place in Broadmead, Clifton Village, Cater Business Park, Bedminster Town and Gloucester Road.