October's BID Insight from Chris Turner


The autumn heralds the start of the major BID ballot season and we now have quite a few BIDs going through ballot this month and next. There are currently thirteen BIDs in ballot: Mansfield, Wolverhampton, Hereford, Chippenham, Stratford (East London), Worcester, Bracknell, Solihull, Luton, Verwood Area, Lincoln, Exeter and Leeds. There are several BIDs coming to ballot in the next month. Clearly, we will let you have these results as soon as they become available. It is thus a very exciting time in the BID industry with such a large number of BIDs coming to ballot, and of these, four are newly developing BIDs.

It has also been an interesting month in terms of government policy and government strategy. The Queen’s speech last week heralded some major proposals in the infrastructure and policing budgets, which may well have an impact on some BIDs across the country. The details on the major infrastructure changes raised in the budget are available here.

The government’s new Towns funding was announced last month and of the 100 new towns being allocated funding a reasonable number have BIDs in place. The full list and the criteria and objectives of the funding are available here. A total of 45 places across the Northern Powerhouse and 30 places in the Midlands Engine are among the 100 pioneers of new Town Deals as part of the government’s commitment to level up all regions by boosting productivity, skills and living standards. This new Towns funding was allocated by government rather than through the external competitive process that the Future High Street Funding will involve.

This new Towns funding is on top of the funding allocation already made through the Future High Streets fund, which has been increased by another 50 towns and further funding that now amounts to £1bn. It is this funding that will be supported by the Future High Streets task force. Conversations with the Ministry suggest that the Town funding support processes will be separate from the Future High Street Fund.

One major piece of work that BIDs might find interesting is Take Back the High Street: Putting communities in charge of their own town centres, a new report published by Power to Change. The report sets out a bold new approach to town centre revival grounded in a simple idea: that communities themselves can revitalise their own high streets. Their view is that too many responses to high street decline focus on how to revive an old, outdated model dominated by mass retail. The work at Power to Change in support of community businesses has revealed a huge amount of potential residing in communities all over the country. By giving communities themselves much greater ownership and agency over high streets, they believe they can start to rebuild a model for the high street as a place to congregate, to interact, to do business and to live our lives together. High streets can once again become a vital source of meaning and belonging, allowing us to connect to the places where we live.

As part of rethinking and reviewing how high street retail works, I was involved in an interesting discussion at Kings Lynn BID earlier in the month with Wayne Hemingway, who spoke so forcefully at our 2017 National BIDs Conference. At Kings Lynn, Wayne was speaking of the importance of nurturing and recognising the vital role that charity shops play on the high street. His view, very different from many BID managers, was that the young buy in charity shops and they are an important part of the retail provision. It was for this reason that he ensured that Shelter was part of the Kings Cross shopping development which he helped design.The piece is written up here and is well worth a read.

The National BID Awards are an important part of British BIDs celebration of BIDs across the country, and this year we are delighted to have DestinationCore sponsor the awards. It was really wonderful that this year we had a record number of entries for these awards and the shortlist of nine, of which three in each category have now been announced and are available here. The final winners will be announced at our conference in Cambridge next month. This year we have launched an additional award that allows you to vote for your favourite project of the nine shortlisted, which you feel deserves to win 'BID Industry Favourite 2019'. Please give your vote here.

It is useful and important that we learn from projects around the world, and an interesting piece of research showing in New York is the exhibition Fringe Cities: Legacies of Renewal in the Small American City, which explores the small city that has been severely affected by urban renewal. Between 1949 and 1974, the United States federal government invested billions of dollars in urban infrastructure through a series of planning, demolition, and construction programs that are collectively known as “urban renewal.” Originally packaged as anti-poverty initiatives, urban renewal often exacerbated existing problems, reinforcing segregation, building highways through downtown cores, and destroying historic structures. While many large cities have rebounded from these social and spatial traumas, smaller cities often continue to struggle with the same problems that urban renewal sought to resolve. It is a critique of the sort of top down major planning that we see in various places across the UK and can be seen here.

At our Conference in Cambridge next month we will be celebrating our Certificate in BID Management students, all of who have undertaken some really exciting BID based research and the next cohort will be starting in February 2020. There are some places available if you are interested, the details available here.

We will also be celebrating and giving certificates to a number of BIDs who have achieved Accreditation over the past few months. This Accreditation is a formal recognition that is recognised by many of the National levy payers and can be accessed here.

 

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

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