It’s a YES! – Huddersfield businesses celebrate positive BID result
Businesses in Huddersfield have voted in favour of plans to set up a Business Improvement District (BID), securing a significant £2million to be spent on improving the area.
The positive result follows 18 months of planning, in-depth interviews, surveys and workshops and a month-long ballot in which hundreds of businesses in the area were asked to vote on the proposals.
63% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID by total number of businesses, and 72% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID by Rateable Value.
As a result of the yes vote the town’s new Business Improvement District will come into effect on 1st October 2019. Businesses with a rateable value of £12,001 or above will pay a levy based upon their rateable value, creating a collective fund of more than £2million to spend over the next five years.
The plans were spear-headed and driven by a steering group of business representatives from across the town.
Vernon O’Reilly, Centre Manager of the Piazza Shopping Centre and Chair of the Huddersfield BID Development Steering Group, said “This is superb news for Huddersfield and huge congratulations must go to all the businesses which rallied and joined forces to ensure we secured today’s yes vote. Our new BID will be led and driven by the businesses themselves and this funding and commitment of collaboration will enable us to build on the town centre’s unique strengths and assets.
“Thanks must also go to all those businesses who engaged in the process by sharing their ideas and opinions on how we can work together to improve the area and who, ultimately, voted in favour of the plans.
“The BID’s business plan, which businesses were being asked to vote on, has been designed to begin addressing the issues which came up during the lengthy consultations with many of the businesses in the BID area, from the small independent businesses to large national businesses.
“The money will now be spent delivering those ambitions with the aim of making Huddersfield a better and more successful place to shop, explore and do business.”
The Huddersfield BID vision is ‘To develop Huddersfield into an accessible, safe, vibrant and attractive destination which celebrates its culture and heritage, serves its local business, university and residential community and is recognised nationally and internationally as a great place to be’
The first project area in the plan is about creating a vibrant town centre and immediate surrounding area which has a strong sense of identity and a positive awareness locally, regionally and nationally. It includes coordinating promotion of the town, creating more events and generating campaigns to profile the town centre businesses and things to do within the area.
The second project is all about making Huddersfield more accessible. This includes working closely with the Council and other car park operators to improve signage and access to car parks, to improve the tariff structures of car parking in the BID area and to work with public transport providers to encourage easier use , access and integration of public transport within the area.
The third project area is to help make the town even more attractive for visitors, residents and people working in and around the area. This will include the employment of uniformed Rangers to help promote the area, welcome visitors and provide support to businesses. The Rangers would also work closely with the Police and other organisations to address the Anti-Social Behaviour and crime issues which impact upon the visitor experience. The BID will also work with landlords to ensure that vacant premises and maintained and presented in a smart and tidy manner. Floral displays and festive lighting will also be used to enhance the appearance and the vibrancy of the streets.
The last but one of the most important project areas to address, according to businesses in the town centre, is the business, leisure and cultural offer. The aim is to work with partners, landlords and property agents to market the town centre and immediate surrounding areas to potential new businesses and investors in line with recommendations from a retail, leisure and cultural framework for the BID area. The BID will also monitor footfall, commercial performance, customer perceptions and other key measures across the BID area and provide regular reports and performance updates for businesses
A company will now be formed to deliver the objectives of the BID over the next five years.