Town centre businesses in Burnley have backed ambitious plans to create a Business Improvement District (BID).
Businesses voted in favour of the proposals that could see a £1m. investment in the town centre over the next five years in a ballot held during the past month.
Almost three-quarters (71%) of the town centre business voted in favour, representing 77% of ratetable value, giving a strong mandate for a first-time BID.
BIDs are business-led partnerships which are created to deliver additional projects and services to benefit businesses in an area for a limited period, usually five years. A small levy is charged to all businesses in that area to fund the initiatives, typically between one to two per cent of a business’s rateable value.
Setting up a BID empowers businesses to undertake activities, projects and services that will make a town centre more economically vibrant, increase footfall and support the creation of a safer, cleaner and greener town centre.
Debbie Hernon, Charter Walk shopping centre manager, said: “The BID will give businesses a greater say in how Burnley town centre is managed and promoted, working closely with the council and other partners to make Burnley a more attractive and vibrant place to shop and visit.”
Kate Ingram, Burnley Council’s strategic head of economy and growth, said: “This is great news and represents a major change in how the town centre is managed, attracting more visitors and new businesses. It will help build on the wider regeneration of the town centre and the ongoing work to build a brighter future for Burnley.”
Richard Ellison, at the Country House Gallery in St James Street, said: “I’m pleased to see the support from town centre businesses for backing the business-led £1m. investment over the next five years for the Burnley town centre BID.
“The BID promises a great opportunity for a new way to deliver a range of projects and improvements across the town centre, and reconnect it with new consumers from a range of demographics to create a thriving town centre for the future.”
The Burnley Town Centre BID will start in April 2020 and concentrate on three main themes:
• Create a 'Modern, Vibrant and Connected' town centre, including a dedicated year-round programme of marketing and promotional campaigns to attract more shoppers and visitors; organise more events to bring people into the town centre; and a “Shop Local, Stay Local” programme to encourage people to shop locally.
• Create a 'Better Burnley for Business' by encouraging the growth of independent businesses, providing business support and working more closely with town centre businesses to create new investment opportunities and tackle barriers to growth.
• Create a 'Responsive and Pro-active Burnley' by tackling anti-social behaviour and crime and creating a safer and more secure town centre, day and night.