JUNE'S INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER


As we enter midsummer much is happening in the BID community.

Ballots are continuing more slowly in the summer, with successful outcomes in Cowpen Lane Industrial Bid, My Shawlands and Dublin Town.

Eight new cities were named for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Milton Keynes, Colchester and Doncaster in England, Dunfermline in Scotland, Bangor in Northern Ireland and Wrexham in Wales all received the title. It was pleasing to see BIDs involved in the process, and we celebrate with them.

Bradford has been named the UK City of Culture 2025, beating off competition from 20 other cities. It will be the second Yorkshire city to be thus crowned since Hull enjoyed the title in 2017. Bradford has a great deal going for it, including a great BID. Its cultural history is rich: JB Priestley, was a son of the city. In Andrea Dunbar, who died in 1990 at the unthinkably early age of 29, Bradford birthed a major playwright who articulated with precision the texture of working-class life under the Thatcher government; her plays The Arbor and Rita, Sue and Bob Too stand as masterpieces. Her life in turn was documented by the film-maker Clio Barnard (born in nearby Otley), another of whose remarkable films, The Selfish Giant, is set in the city. In David Hockney, Bradford has a global artistic titan. Ten miles to the west lies Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters.

British BIDs are running a series of Summer Sessions on issues BIDs have raised with us, including heritage and culture, net-zero, the jobs market for many of our levy payers, and the views of national levy payers on BIDs. Details are here and they are free and accessible to all British BIDs members. Do please join us for an hour each morning 10.30-11.30 in the first week of July 5th – 8th, for an hour of creative shared thinking with some key experts in their fields, along with other experienced BID managers.

After this excitement, there are some important crime issues that BIDs need to know about. A national survey has been launched to understand more about the public’s experience when contacting their local police forces. The public in England and Wales is being asked to take a few minutes to tell police chiefs about their experiences of the 101 and 999 services, as well as preferences for future modes of contact. Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Local Policing Leads, Alison Hernandez and Jeff Cuthbert, said: “Reporting to 101 and 999 remains a challenging area of business for police forces. The needs of those making contact must be understood and forces must prioritise those most in need, meaning contact about routine items is sometimes not responded to as quickly as people would like.” “In addition, new technology deployed by some forces presents significant opportunities to speed up responses and open lines of communication with people who might not be comfortable using traditional methods. As the voice of the public in policing, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are very keen to better understand their constituents’ views on these issues and will be urging as many people as possible to respond to the survey.”

Here is the survey link. The survey closes June 26th at midnight and BIDs might want to send the link to their levy payers.

At the same time some interesting research on The Impact of Business Improvement Districts on Crime has been updated by Giulia Faggio, of the Department of Economics, City University. The study evaluates the impact of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) on crime using data based on the total number of BIDs established in England and Wales between 2012-2017. Results indicate that BID areas are, on average, affected by higher levels of crime than other commercial areas, but they experience a drop of 10-11 crimes per quarter following BID formation. The reduction in crime is stronger for shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and public order-related crimes. Effects depend on the intensity of the approach adopted as well as on the amount of resources devoted to crime prevention. The study also provides evidence of diversion effects. As crime declines in BID areas, criminal activity diverts in neighbouring commercial areas. Diversion effects are smaller than deterrence effects so that aggregated crime declines. The full paper is available here.

The levelling up agenda continues to develop. High Street Rental Auctions are a new permissive power for local authorities which aim to tackle the problem of persistently vacant property on high streets and in town centres and empower places to tackle decline by bringing vacant units back into use. The Government believes they will be a targeted tool to increase cooperation between Landlords and local authorities, and to make town centre tenancies more accessible and affordable for tenants, including SMEs and community groups. HSRAs are temporary, with leases between 1-5 years, and reversible, allowing local authorities to take light-touch action where regeneration efforts have stalled. They will mobilise the commercial rental market and gradually increase demand and activity, instead of having units sit empty for a long amount of time. They are seen by many as fraught with problems and many BIDs see a shared approach between all stakeholders as a better solution. Find out more here.

Independents' Day UK campaign is back for a whole weekend this year - July 2nd & 3rd, promoting and supporting Independent retailers around the UK. More info here https://www.independentsdayuk.org. Any BID team can use this year’s campaign to engage with retailers in their area and also to promote their area as an independent retail destination. The campaign in association with Maybe* is back to promote and support our independent retailers around the UK. It’s a campaign that is ready-made for BIDs and local authorities to take and use for the commercial benefit of their town and its shops.

British BID’s regular Academy Programmes continue, with a newly enhanced series of 12 training modules in both online and in-person mode running through the year, and the Certificate in BID Management and the Diploma in BID Leadership recruiting for the next cohort this year and next, and both now running in online and in-person modes. Do please get in touch with me or Trish Willets on contact@britishbids.info

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

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