December's BID Insight from Chris Turner


This is my final insight of what has been another busy year for British BIDs and the BID industry. We’ve had two Parliamentary select committees: one looking at business rates and the other on the future of the High Street; we’ve had the government setting up the Future High Streets Task Force and we’ve had a whole range of project funding for the High Street, amounting to a £1bn. 

The coming year will let us see how much these major projects can make a difference to the way High Streets evolve. Whatever happens it is clear that there will be much change in the year ahead for Business Improvement Districts. Clearly, British BIDs will continue to be a major part of that; advising, accrediting, supporting, training and developing through conferences, courses, and workshops across the country.   

The recent election will now allow a new government to bring into effect some of these changes and the Prime Minister, as part of the manifesto, made very clear that he will be reviewing the way that business rates work. The Conservative manifesto specifically outlined plans to reduce the rates burden by £320 million by extending the retail discount from 33% to 50% for businesses with a rateable value below £51,000 (more info here), and we are all hoping that this might make a big difference on the way the High Street operates. However, there are many who feel that the reduction proposed will amount to a mere 0.03% (more info here).   

Around the world there are major developments and some recent work in South East Asia allowed me to look at BIDs in Singapore. The Government there has made a success of place making although the model is slightly different. Singapore River One, the pilot Business Improvement District, was set up by stakeholders along the river managing the place making of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. Today, the area, with its vibrant and thriving environment, is evidence of place making at work. Nine other precincts in the island state have now followed suit. The Singapore Government’s Urban Redevelopment Authority clearly view that the precincts are a good mix, with different characteristics, from historic and civic districts to mixed-use precincts in and outside the city centre. The Government will support them in their efforts to enliven the precincts and improve visitor experience; they will develop detailed business plans; and have to get at least 51% support from stakeholders within the defined boundary in their respective precincts to form pilot BIDs. The Government will then provide dollar-for-dollar matching for the membership fees collected by each pilot BID up to a cap of $500,000 per year, for the first four years of the pilot programme. The funding will help the pilot BIDs kick-start the initial phase of their place management efforts and set the foundation for them to expand their plans over time.   

Projects around the world often point to futures for us in the UK. Today, we see a growing movement in cities throughout the world to stem the usage of cars and close streets to unmitigated traffic. Much of course is already happening across the UK; two prominent examples in the U.S. are New York City and San Francisco; the details are here. Toronto’s King Street pilot is a model, in Europe, Barcelona’s superblocks are laying new ground, and in Asia, Tokyo’s approach to on-street parking is exemplary. Not to mention in the southern hemisphere, where Curitiba, Brazil, has seen long-standing success with its dedicated busways that are a model widely replicated around the world. Clearly, the growing concerns about pollution in cities will impact on us all and as BIDs we need to be well prepared.   

A completely different issue is being addressed by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) lead for Cybercrime, Chief Constable Peter Goodman, who would like to invite all businesses, small and large, to attend the National Business Cybercrime Conference 2020 taking place on the 26th March at the iconic Kia Oval in London. The conference is free to attend and is aimed at helping businesses minimise their risk and exposure to potential cybercrime. The event agenda is being finalised but will feature speakers from the national and regional cybercrime network as well as industry experts in cyber security. Full details are here.   

And of course, our own event in Manchester, hosted by CityCo (The City Centre Management Company) & Manchester BID; BIDs in 2020; Managing Places on 26th February 2020 has a session on Protests, Terrorism and Comms Strategies, using Manchester’s experience of the Arena attack and climate protests, the importance of clear messages, the problem with mixed messages and the importance of live briefings. Full details are here. For any queries related to this event please call 0845 112 0118 or email drew@britishbids.info.   

Finally, the number of new BIDs coming to ballot in the last month slowed down a little, but it is good to see some successful renewals and some new BIDs coming into being across the country. Rossau and Tarnaubach, Burnley and Treorchy were all developing BIDs that came successfully through their ballot process. Elgin, Better Bankside, Globe Business Park, Newport, and Bury St Edmunds were all BIDs that successfully came through their renewals. Original Edinburgh and Tooting both failed at their ballots. January is a slow month for ballots, with Murray Tourism BID; we then have a further five coming to ballot in February.   

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

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