Scrutiny: Vote proposed for Business Improvement District

Published Friday, 17th July 2015

Plans for a ballot to take place in November to allow city centre businesses to decide on a proposed Business Improvement District (BID) will be put to the cross-party Economic Development and Transport Policy and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 22 July.

Then, on Thursday 30 July, Executive will consider the report which recommends approval of the continuing development of a Business Development District as well as approve a ballot in November 2015 when city centre businesses will be asked to vote on whether they would like to form a BID.

The initiative, led by City Team York, a group of local businesses chaired by Adam Sinclair, would see businesses predominantly within the inner ring road come together to form a BID company to decide how they pool resources to benefit the local economy.  

Business Improvement Districts already exist in around 200 locations across the UK and evidence gained from these suggests that they can enhance the role of their area as a business location and as a retail and visitor destination, increase spend and sales, improvement physical surroundings, support the competitiveness of a city, lead to more effective marketing activity and improve safety and security.

The proposed Business Improvement District will create a single source of funding of over £800,000 through a levy businesses in the BID area which will be invested in York city centre. How this funding is spent will be decided by the Business Improvement District board and will focus on areas impacting the city centre including; tackling anti social behaviour, improving the cleanliness of the city centre and providing business and procurement support for city centre businesses.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council with responsibility for Economic Development and Community Engagement, said: “These proposals look to offer businesses more of a say and decide how they might use their resources to benefit the city’s economy.  As a council we are looking to help local businesses thrive and ensure everyone enjoys York’s unique heritage as well as make our city centre a better place to visit and shop. The Business Improvement District looks to support this through increased investment and a focus on key areas to improve the city centre.”

Michael Hjort, Owner, Walmgate Ale House, Managing Director, York Festival of Food and Drink, said: “York needs to deliver an appealing family friendly environment built around the engagement of the city's  local population.  There is a groundswell of support from  centre business determined to improve the attractiveness and vitality of the city centre.  The BID is York's opportunity to create a clear, compelling and unique retail and hospitality identity embedded within York's historic setting.

Brian Furey, Landlord, The Gillygate: “York constantly appears in Top 10 tourist attractions worldwide, high profile companies are setting up home here and it is a venue for major sporting and artistic events. York is unique. Successful cities need a clear and compelling message and identity. It is essential that we all play our part in promoting this message and presenting this unique city of ours at its best. The York Bid project is the mechanism to do this."

Scrutiny will take place on Wednesday 22 July at West Offices and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from: www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

To attend the meeting, or to read the report visit http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=668&MId=9037

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