February's Insight from Chris Turner


Ballot activity is starting afresh and we congratulate Aldgate Connect, Moray Tourism and Cupar Now Digital on their successful results. BIDs that are in ballot this month are Plymouth City Centre, Victoria, Bee Midtown - Holborn, Bloomsbury, St Giles and Bee Midtown - Farringdon & Clerkenwell, all of which are renewing BIDs.

As you know, British BIDs has been working hard on the issue of business rates and has responded again to the Treasury for the upcoming budget with our response available here. The Government announced last month that small shops and cafes will see their bills halved as the retail discount is extended to 50%; music venues and cinemas will become eligible for the retail discount, and a £1,500 discount for local newspapers office space will be extended for a further five years.  A new Pubs Relief will also be introduced, with £1,000 being taken off the business rates bills of small pubs who qualify. As many as 18,000 pubs are expected to benefit from the discount. The relief will come on top of an extended retail discount, which smaller pubs are also eligible for. The details are outlined in full in a Written Ministerial Statement.

We will soon be launching our industry podcast and episode 1 will be focusing on the 2020 Budget and what is required to help our business communities succeed. You’ll be able to listen to this on all the usual platforms such as Spotify and Apple. If you have any suggestions on what topics we should cover, or if you’d like to get involved as a guest in a future episode, please do get in touch.

There has been much change in Government, and Jake Berry, the very popular and successful Northern Powerhouse minister, resigned rather than accept a job in the Foreign Office, due to his family commitments. The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, will now take control of the project at Cabinet level, and Simon Clarke will handle the ministerial activity, but not in the Cabinet.
 
The Government created the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission in order to help “increase the use of high-quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods”. It has just produced a report, Living with Beauty, that argues that beauty should be legally enshrined in the planning system. This is an important move by the Government. It demands that promoting beauty be explicit in planning control – and ugliness explicit in refusing consent. It proposes meticulous and specific changes in regulations and asks that communities should be empowered to vote down ugliness. Builders should know what is allowed and not allowed, to speed up their work. They should be steered towards popular urban forms, such as streets, squares, shops, trees and water, to the “fine-grained city”. The report is here and is worth a read.

Bill Grimsey spoke at our National BIDs Conference last year and is again  stressing the message that we need to accept that the twentieth-century high street model is over. The experience economy is going from strength to strength, and Brits are forecast to spend £141bn on leisure by 2022. Research tells us that growing numbers of generation Z and millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material items, and this is driving high street change through the growth of leisure, entertainment, and new dining experiences. Likewise, as retail continues to shrink, we’re starting to see more housing on the high street. The number of applications for change of use from stores to homes has doubled over the past five years. The growth of co-working space, business centres and trendy office studios on high streets gives a further clue to what the future will look like. Research by the Centre for Cities, who also spoke at our conference, shows that areas with higher levels of modern workspace are more likely to have vibrant and successful high streets than areas that don’t. Leisure, living and working will be key drivers shaping the new landscape. Read the full piece here.

British BIDs often get involved with governance issues and the Companies House website has a useful article on the significant legal duties associated with being a director. These 7 statutory duties are owed by each Director to the company and form the basis of what being a company director is all about. As BID Managers we know much about these, but a reminder is useful, as we reach AGM and financial year ends for many BIDs: a director must act within their powers under the company’s constitution, the most important part of the company’s constitution is the articles of association, a duty of a company director is to promote the success of the company, a major duty requires directors to exercise independent judgement, and there is a duty for directors to exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence in their role. The remaining 3 legal duties relate to the need for directors to avoid or manage conflicts of interest which may affect their objectivity. One of the important purposes of the minutes of board meetings is to provide a record of the board’s decision-making process, and these need to be kept for 10 years. British BIDs run training and workshops across the country if you need more guidance on such matters. Please contact drew@britshbids.info for more information.

The National Business Crime Solution Member Day on Wednesday 25th March in Nottingham will focus on the burning issues that businesses are currently facing and the different solutions they are using to reduce risk. For businesses the main challenge includes how to respond to the increasing strain on their business to report crime to multiple places, in a way which keeps data sharing secure, compliant and cost efficient. NBCS will demonstrate how they are helping businesses streamline incident reporting, have asked us to share this invitation for their next member day with all BIDS, and suggest that it would be fantastic to get a really healthy BID attendance. The event is free and open to any business, Business Improvement District, Crime Partnerships and police force. Take a look and book your place here.

We are looking forward to next week’s BIDs in 2020; Managing Places event in Manchester. This takes place on Wednesday and is being delivered in partnership with the Manchester BID. The day will include a series of workshops from leading and experienced practitioners based on the issue of homelessness, rough sleeping, resilience in the instance of acts of terror and more. The day will also provide plenty of time for networking and discussion on industry issues. A few spaces remain available so get in touch with drew@britishbids.info to secure your place.

This year’s Professional Development Day takes place on 23rd April in Birmingham. This is an opportunity for all who work in the BID industry to come together and explore how BIDs and other business communities are working to solve similar problems. With insights from the local political, business and cultural community talking about how BIDs can and have made a difference. Previous days in Bristol and Watford have been hugely popular so securing your place early is recommended, you can book here.

For any queries related to either of these two events please call 0845 112 0118 or email drew@britishbids.info

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs


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