JULY INSIGHTS BY CHRIS TURNER


As we start summer, BIDs are flat out with their usual delivery, ballots and planning. In some cases, for Christmas! BID Ballots continue, with 13 BIDs currently in ballot. In the past month we have seen ten ballot successes in Fulham Broadway, Edgware, Warrington, Penrith, Cranleigh, Harrogate, Colne Town Centre, Brentwood Connected, Maidstone and Romford. Sadly, Minehead was not successful.

We launch our Summer Report tomorrow which will arrive in member’s inboxes. There are now 335 BIDs in the British Isles, an increase of four over this time last year, contributing more than £150 million into their business communities. The report drills down on the number of businesses represented in BIDs, ballot results and turnouts over the past 12 months and much more.

The data British BIDs produces continues to support agencies across the countries, and it was pleasing to see our data used in the House of Lords last month by Baroness Scott of Bybrook Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

One of the major agendas for BIDs across the country is Crime and Safety, the growth in Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and the relationship between them and BIDs. The National Business Crime Centre and City University hosted a workshop on Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRPs) to assist in driving the effectiveness of these partnerships to reduce crime and ASB in towns and cities across the UK. One of the key matters is accreditation of BCRPs, the role of the two responsible bodies and the vital coordinating role of the National Business Crime Centre. Hopefully some answers will emerge soon. One issue of the moment is the role of BID Rangers, wardens and the like. They are both supported by many and worried about by others. Training, accreditation and standards seem to be the key.

With our portfolio of managed BIDs, we recently looked at Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. BIDs are already addressing ESG issues across the country, reflecting the importance many of our national levy payers put on them. Manchester CityCo has produced a BID-focused report that aims to act as a starting point for work across the city to ensure this good practice becomes standard across the board, and includes a specific action to leverage more global corporate commitments on ESG into local partnerships and programmes.

Many of you have secured your place at this year’s National BIDs Conference which will explore and debate many of these and other themes, including the important relationship between BIDs and local government. You can book your place here.

The company behind Boots the Chemist is to close 300 of its branches throughout the UK over the next 12 months. Boots is a key supporter of BIDs and provide vital services to many of our communities. So, this is not good news for many of us. We will announce more once we know more. The US-owners of the pharmacy chain said they will shut down stores in proximity to each other as part of plans to "consolidate" the business.

This further underlines the profound changes affecting high streets and town centres, and is the timely reminder of the work that British BIDs undertook in the pandemic with the New Economics Foundation on the New Normal”.

A follow up piece of work has been published by the economics and strategy research consultancy, Pragmatix Advisory, and futures experts, Trajectory, who were commissioned by the Local Government Association to identify how councils can help create resilient and revitalised high streets beyond the pandemic.

The work, Creating resilient and revitalised high streets in the ‘new normal’ is intriguing in its implications for BIDs. They suggest, inter alia, that resilient high streets are experiential destinations and should offer users experiences that go beyond purely retail or functional-oriented activities. Resilient high streets have flexibility built in and rapid technological changes offer challenges and opportunities for high streets. Resilient high streets are green, and local authorities should consider transport, green spaces, and low-carbon supply chains in any environmental strategy.

The report is accessible here and includes a trends checklist tool for anyone wanting to think about the future of their high street or town centre, which you can access via the link.

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

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