Progress being made on the launch of a Business Improvement District in the city centre

A report detailing the progress being made on the launch of a Business Improvement District (BID) in Peterborough’s city centre was discussed by cabinet earlier today.

Cabinet members noted the progress towards the BID and approved the next steps in the run-up to a ballot of local businesses in 2020, which will determine its set-up and launch.

A BID enables businesses within a defined geographical area – in this case Peterborough city centre – to raise money which can they be used to fund a programme of initiatives of their choosing over and above what is provided by the local authority. This could be to stage events, improve decorations or increase security for customers.

In other cities and towns, it has given businesses the power to work together to make changes to boost footfall in the city centre and to attract more visitors in the evening and during weekends and special calendar events.

So far, a BID steering group has been appointed, comprising of organisations, such as Queensgate Shopping Centre, Marks and Spencers, Buckles Solicitors, Peterborough Cathedral and Stoneworks Bar.

The steering group has approved the BID area boundaries which will stretch across the entire city centre and will incorporate the newly created Fletton Quays, and a communications sub-group to market the BID has been set up.

It has also developed an income generation model, whereby business are charged according to their size, based on the amount the rateable value of their business premises. If the BID is successful, it is expected to collectively raise around £425,000 each year to be spent to achieve its aims.

The next steps are:

  • November 2019 – Business consultation, engagement and a survey of local businesses to find out what they want the BID to achieve.
  • January 2020 – Assessing feedback and survey results to identify key priorities for the BID. The BID steering group must then notify the city council if it wants to go ahead with a ballot of local businesses to decide whether or not to formally launch the BID.
  • February 2020 – Creating a draft business plan outlining the possible projects and services requested by the business community with indicative costs. This will then be communicated to stakeholders and feedback collated.
  • Date to be confirmed 2020 – A ballot will be held in which city centre businesses will formally decide whether or not to launch the BID.

Councillor Marco Cereste, cabinet member for street scene at Peterborough City Council, said: “This is an exciting time for Peterborough city centre and its business community, residents and visitors. It will give businesses the chance to become masters of their own destiny.

“We know that in Peterborough we already have a thriving city centre, but if businesses give their support to the BID in the upcoming ballot next year they will be able to work together to ensure our city centre economy continues to thrive in future years.

“If a BID is set up, businesses will be able to decide for themselves how to achieve this. They could decide to put on additional summer festivals to attract extra tourists, invest in floral displays or provide ambassadors/ patrols in the evening to make their customers feel safe.”

Mark Broadhead, chairman of the Peterborough BID Steering Group and centre director for Queensgate Shopping Centre, said, “Businesses collectively need to take action themselves so the area can compete locally and nationally and so that people who live, work or visit here can get a fantastic experience. A BID can really help to deliver that. The important thing is that people get involved and say what they think could make the biggest difference to their business. The core point is - what could a BID do for Peterborough?”

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