Civic and business leaders say they are enthusiastically supporting Bradford BID’s campaign for a second five-year term.
The Business Improvement District’s first term will come to an end later this year and the highly-praised organisation is asking more than 600 levy-paying businesses and organisations to support its continuing until at least the end of 2028 by voting “Yes” in a ballot which closes on September 28.
The BID is a limited not-for-profit company funded by a small levy on businesses and organisations within a specified area of the city centre. It is run by a team of four (full and part-time) staff and an operating board made up of voluntary representatives of all sectors who receive no remuneration.
The levy take is used for projects to help promote and develop the city centre and the total proceeds of about £2.5 million will be spent across the five years on projects and services that are completely over and above those provided by Bradford Council.
Bradford Council Leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Bradford BID has an ambitious plan that builds on the successful work already undertaken in its first five years and addresses the top priorities of businesses in the city.
“I’m especially keen that the Council supports local businesses helping to deliver on the priorities around sustainable, inclusive and economic growth. The work the BID does, which complements the work of the Council, is essential for a thriving economy, boosting business and creating jobs.
“The Bradford BID has a reputation as one of the most effective in the country and we’re delighted to give them our support.”
Her words were echoed by Bradford Chamber of Commerce President Mark Cowgill.
He said: “Bradford BID, like the Bradford Chamber, is at the heart of the business community in the city. The difference they have made in the first five years has been remarkable.
“It’s vital to city centre businesses that they get a massive ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming ballot and I would encourage any business in the BID voting zone to vote YES immediately.
“The next five years are going to be massive for the city, with the restructuring of the city centre and many other exciting developments. We need strong backing for the BID so our businesses get the support they need and deserve from the BID team and the Chamber of Commerce to help them make the most of the opportunities that will come over the next few years.”
Bradford Breakthrough, which represents senior leaders of influential businesses and organisations across the city, is also backing the call for a second BID term.
Chief executive Dr Trevor Higgins said: “Bradford Breakthrough have supported the BID since its launch five years ago. Since then the BID has made a hugely positive difference – with the promises made in its original business plan largely delivered – and the city centre is a much better place to visit, for business or for leisure, than it was before.
“This is a tremendously exciting time with many great things on the cusp of delivery, such as Bradford Live, Darley Street Market, the transformation of The National Science and Media Museum and, of course, Bradford City of Culture 2025!
“Bradford BID is umbilically linked to all these schemes. For me, continuation of the BID, for another five years, is a ‘no brainer.’ We have achieved great things over the last five years – just imagine what could be achieved over the next five!”
Smaller businesses are also getting behind the BID and urging city centre traders to return their ballot papers with a ‘Yes’ vote as soon as possible.
Barney Mynott, West Yorkshire Development Manager at the federation for Small Businesses said: “Local business owners are best served when we work together. For us to work with another business organisation requires two things: absolute confidence that the other business organisation is professional and has expert knowledge; and there needs to be an outward looking, generous culture that supports collaboration.
“Bradford BID is definitely both these things. Their knowledge of city centre businesses is second to none. We really benefit from their insight and knowledge (and the work they did during Covid to ensure businesses got the grants they were entitled to should never be forgotten).
“Their work in the city centre is so important to building pride in Bradford. This has never been so important as we look forward to City of Culture status.
“They are also a generous partner to work with, freely providing information, time and effort that helps us better understand business needs in Bradford. There are always barriers when working with other organisations. But the approach the BID takes means that these are minimised, and it has always been a pleasure to work with them.
“In short, Bradford BID is a vital part of the jigsaw that will enable us together to grow the whole Bradford District economy.”