Communities see benefits of business improvement district schemes
According to the latest British BIDs report, Business Improvement Districts in the British Isles 2019, the UK has seen a 5 per cent increase in active BIDs and an 8 per cent rise in BIDs currently under development, suggesting that local business communities are continuing to see the benefit to both town and city centres.
To date, 2019 has been an active year for policy matters relating to the struggling high street. Following the publication of the Timpson report, The High Street and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) committee’s High Streets and town centres in 2030 inquiry, the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee is looking seriously at business rate reform. The first phase of the Future High Streets Fund was announced and a task force has since been set up to help allocate the money.
London is currently home to more than 20 per cent of the active and developing BIDs in the UK, followed by Scotland and the South East with 11.84 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively. In contrast Ireland and the North East have the least with just 1 per cent. Meanwhile in Yorkshire & Humber, the region has seen an increase from 3.6 per cent in 2018 to 5.61 per cent in the past 12 months.
Key initiatives that BIDs are involved in include crime reduction, with 81 per cent now heavily involved in Business Crime Reduction Partnerships which assist with local policing. In addition, experiential retail is also playing a large role, helping to counter the major transformation e-commerce has had on traditional bricks-and-mortar store models. The night time economy is another strategic focus, with towns and cities estimated to bring in over £60 billion to the UK every year.
Paul Clement, head of place-shaping at Savills, commented: “The fact that we are seeing an increase in active BIDs in locations such as Yorkshire & Humber proves that they are working. Local authorities are seeing the positive impact BIDs are having on nearby regional centres and are keen to replicate this success. We expect this proliferation to continue as more and more places start to see the benefits.
“Moving forward, we believe that more locations are likely to see the benefits of pursuing these kind of place-shaping initiatives as BIDs are uniquely placed to help combine both physical and social constructs to create places that people want rather than need to be. As a result, we anticipate that the number of BIDs will continue to increase across the UK as stakeholders witness these transformations first-hand. Decided via public ballot, BIDs are designed to be an inclusive and democratic process and for this reason is likely to prove essential to reviving Britain’s high streets.”