Cheapside businesses vote to establish the City of London's first Business Improvement District (BID)
Following an overwhelmingly positive ballot result (84% yes vote) Cheapside is now the first area in the City of London to adopt a Business Improvment District (BID) to help promote the area and provide the business community with a more collective voice on aiding economic growth.
This result demonstrates the growing reputation of BIDs in London and is a strong endorsement from some of the capital's most respected businesses.
BIDs are changing the face of large swathes of Central London. As the public purse shrinks, the private sector is playing a bigger role than ever in the 'public' sphere. There are now more than 40 established across London and they are proving to be powerful bodies for change in key districts in the capital.
Many central London BIDs, such as Victoria and The Northbank, have taken a lead role in developing ‘placeshaping’ strategies – more than street cleaning, token public art and hanging baskets – but visionary plans, able to galvanise private and public sector partners to create ambitious but deliverable strategies for whole areas.
Ruth Duston, who led the Cheapside ballot campaign and is one of the leading figures in the development of central London BIDs, said.
"This is a historic moment for the City of London. The role of the modern day BID is not just about ‘improving’ areas, but increasingly they are powerful business alliances focused on CSR, the socio-economic agenda, community engagement, matching skills and training to jobs, and opportunities such as joint procurement. This recent addition to the London BID platform is clear example of businesses working collectively."
The Cheapside BID has been proposed by the City of London in order to build on the momentum achieved through delivering the Cheapside Area Strategy which has seen a significant change in the business and retail environment in the Cheapside area. This has been complemented by the work of the Cheapside Initiative which was established in 2007 as a voluntary private sector partnership of land owners, developers and occupiers that has provided a voice for the local community and carried out a series of projects to raise the visibility and profile of the area. To date the Partnership has been reliant on voluntary contributions from its members.
The new Cheapside BID will be funded by the businesses it represents. A BID levy multiplier is calculated by using an annual multiplier on the rateable value. The Cheapside BID will promote the enhancement of Cheapside as a business and retail destination and will not relate to the delivery of services that would normally be expected to be undertaken by the City Corporation (cleaning, policing etc).