City centre firms to be balloted on plans for new BID

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CITY centre businesses should be balloted on whether they are in favour of setting up a new Business Improvement District (BID), according to a new report.

Leeds Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and Leeds City Council have just completed a six-month feasibility study on launching a BID in Leeds and will report its conclusions to the council’s Executive Board on April 2.

The report will recommend further consultation and a city centre-wide ballot of businesses.

A BID company would give organisations in the area a direct say in how the city centre is managed and promoted.

There are over 160 BIDs in the UK, including in Hull and Skipton, where levies are collected through the business rate which pay for additional services, over and above those provided by the public sector.

The funds collected through the levy give local organisations the power to improve their own business environment.

Mark Goldstone, head of policy at Leeds Chamber, who chaired the BID feasibility steering board, said: “We commissioned the feasibility report to understand more about the success of BIDs in comparable cities. We wanted to know how the BID approach might support and improve Leeds as an international destination for talent, investment, development, entertainment and culture in the eyes of visitors, employers and investors from the UK and around the world.

“The Tour de France Grand Depart comes to Leeds in July, raising the profile of Leeds on the international stage. Approving the BID proposal would ensure that, as its opportunity horizon widens, Leeds is able to compete effectively for new business and long-term economic growth in the best possible light.”

The Chamber is looking for an organisation to deliver the next phase of the BID development. Contact mark.goldstone@leedschamber.co.uk