Businesses in Burnley town centre will vote shortly on whether to create a new partnership which would manage a £1 million investment over the next five years.
Proposals to create a Business Improvement District in the town centre will be put to a ballot of business owners between October 24th and November 21st, with the result being announced the following day.
A report to Burnley Council’s executive recommends that authority is given to its chief executive to vote in favour of the BID, which would support wider proposals to regenerate the town centre and surroundings areas and attract inward investment.
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 1 to 2% of a business’s rateable value. A BID can only be set up following a successful ballot of businesses in that area.
A consultation of town centre businesses found that 70% of respondents would support the scheme and more than 60% felt it offered value for money. A business-led BID Steering Group was established to drive forward the process and develop a business plan setting out what the BID could achieve to benefit businesses in the town centre, as well as setting a proposed level of levy and who would be eligible to contribute.
The executive report indicates that a 1.5% of rateable value levy could be imposed (up to a £5,000 cap) which would provide an annual budget with match funding adding to the funds available for re-investment into the town centre amounting to £1 million over five years.
If successful the Burnley Town Centre BID would start in April 2020 and would 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.
Further details on the BID plans for the future are available at www.burnleybid.co.uk
Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, the council's executive member for regeneration and business growth, said: "This is about businesses, supported by the council, driving forward the town centre economy.
"A ‘Yes’ vote is a vote in favour of a more vibrant, exciting and safer Burnley town centre” that will attract more shoppers, more visitors and more investment.”
Debbie Hernon, Charter Walk shopping centre manager, said: “I’ve seen what works in Burnley and other town centres, and the BID has all the ingredients to further improve and enhance the town centre and attracts thousands of new consumers by changing the experience for customers and visitors.”
BIDs were first developed in the UK in 2004. There are now 300 established schemes, including ones in Blackburn, Colne and Skipton.