June's Insight from Professor Chris Turner


Life is getting splendidly busy across the BID community as the summer arrives. We have ballots in Canterbury, Bermondsey and Huddersfield which started last week, and we wish them well. We are awaiting results from Slough, Kingston, South Bank, Northwich and Chester whose results come out next week or the week after. We congratulate Kidderminster and Southport BID on their successful ballot result.

Business rates with their complexities, unfairness and review processes are coming under increasing scrutiny. The Treasury Select Committee is still taking evidence and you can see more here. We gave our evidence on 4th June and you can watch the recording here.

We are all really hoping that the tide is moving on this one and some changes may emerge. On the other hand, government is focussed almost entirely on issues of leadership and Brexit so we can only wait and see some good news on the new tranche of funding for High Streets Heritage Action Zones, where £40m has been allocated to Historic England for work to support historic high streets as part of the Future High Streets Fund. It is designed to secure lasting improvements to our historic high streets and the communities who use them. You can apply for a grant of between £250,000 and £2m, to set up a four-year partnership beginning April 2020 and the website is here.

After last year’s record number of entries across the UK, the Great British High Street Awards has returned to recognise and celebrate the communities that are working to revive their local high streets. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and corporate sponsors Visa are proud to be supporting the search for the Champion and Rising Star High Streets to crown the winners of 2019. Details and applications are available here

We are still awaiting the outcome of the tenders for the High Streets Task Force. Government stressed that it would provide on-the-ground support to local places, an online repository of best practice, guidance and data that is available to all. They will also provide training for place leaders and play a coordination role in ensuring that relevant groups involved in high street improvements engage with each other better at both a local and national level. Its first key task will be to work on the £675 million Future High Streets Fund, for which expressions of interest were submitted on 22nd March 2019, and the announcement on those places moving to Phase 2 (business case development) will be out in Summer 2019. So, there is much interest across the country!

More locally, the Certificate in BID Management (CiBM) finished last week, with 11 students presenting their projects to the assessment panel; the results will be out this week and the Certificates presented at our Annual Conference in Cambridge on 7th November. The next cohort is starting on 25th June and if you are interested in joining, please email drew.turner@britishbids.info.

The National BID Awards offer the BID community the opportunity to tell us about admirable projects that they have delivered. For 2019, there are three categories; Place Marketing, Place Management and Special Recognition. The awards are presented at the National BIDs Conference in Cambridge on the 7th November. For further information visit our website or call Drew on 0845 112 0118 or email drew@britishbids.info.

The National BID Survey is midway through and response has been good, indeed better than last year at the same stage. The deadline is next week, 30th June, but we are always happy to receive later contributions. We shall be contacting BIDs next week and the week after to remind managers of the survey and if you have not had you email from me do please let me know on chris.turner@britishbids.info.

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

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