Businesses urged to back BID Leicester and have a say in city’s future

AMBITIOUS proposals that could see an additional £4.2 million of investment brought into Leicester city centre over the next five years are to be unveiled.

The proposals are set out in the business plan for the Leicester Business Improvement District (BID). The plan was put together by a steering group of over 20 city centre business representatives after months of extensive consultation.

It will be launched this Friday to a wide range of organisations and businesses by Leicester BID co-chairs - Chris Stafford, CEO, Curve, and Sarah Thomson, Director of Strategic and International Partnerships at De Montfort University.

The business plan sets out initiatives for developing a more welcoming, more accessible and safer city centre. It also aims to improve the promotion of the city to increase business by day and night, and to ensure the business community is actively supported.

The initiatives are based around three key themes which businesses identified as important for achieving a positive future for Leicester. They are:

• Creating a safe and attractive environment

• Raising Leicester’s profile through high quality marketing

• Creating a strong business voice within Leicester

A BID is a business led and funded partnership that brings businesses together to improve trade within the BID area.

City centre businesses will be asked to vote on whether Leicester should introduce a BID in a ballot running from October 6 to November 2 this year.

Businesses in the Leicester BID area would contribute around 1.25% of their rateable value to the fund each year – generating £4.2million for city centre initiatives over the five-year BID term. Smaller businesses, with the lowest rateable value, would be exempt from the levy.

Funds would be used to deliver schemes and services to help improve the overall experience for visitors and residents, and drive business performance throughout the BID area.

Chris Stafford said: “In the last 12 months we’ve seen significant change in the city, and Leicester is truly beginning to believe in its own potential.

“A BID is a great way to tap into this potential to make Leicester grow and deliver a better experience for people who live, work, study and visit here. It is a unique opportunity for city centre businesses to lead and manage their own projects and to contribute to Leicester becoming a destination of choice.”

Sarah Thomson said: “After months of consultation the over-riding message that has come through is that Leicester wants a BID that is authentic and will give businesses the opportunity to capitalise on all that Leicester has to offer. We urge businesses to vote YES in the forthcoming ballot so that together we can secure the future of our city centre”.

Proposals set out in the business plan include:

• creating a uniformed and highly visible Ambassador team to patrol the BID area giving reassurance to businesses and visitors alike. Linked to the City Wardens they will work to improve the street scene and address perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre

• supporting the promotion of extended shopping hours, overnight stays and weekend breaks to increase numbers of visitors, the length of their stay and average spend

• offering businesses support for IT and digital training to help them deliver cost-effective marketing initiatives across a range of digital platforms

A majority of businesses would have to vote in favour of the BID for it to be adopted, in addition those that vote in favour must represent a majority of the rateable value of the votes cast. The results of the ballot will be announced on 3 November 2017.