A six month joint study, looking at the feasibility of setting up a Business Improvement District (BID) for Leeds, reports its conclusions to the City Council’s Executive Board on April 2nd. The report, prepared by Leeds Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and Leeds City Council, will recommend further consultation leading to a city centre wide ballot of businesses which will propose setting up a BID.
In the last decade BIDs have become a strategically important ingredient in delivering economic and physical improvements to many Cities throughout the world. They provide a formal democratic framework which channels funding from local stakeholders into specific, agreed initiatives designed around a common purpose to raise standards and tackle issues in city centres which sit beyond the scope of local authorities.
Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy at Leeds Chamber, who chaired the BID feasibility steering board, commented, “Leeds city centre is already an economic powerhouse for the North of England and a major retail and leisure destination. It is also a strategic regional location for professional, financial and legal services with a prominent UK profile. From this excellent base position it has potential to increase its competitiveness further, not only within the UK but also from a European perspective. That means having the right platform to make it a credible option.
“We commissioned the Feasibility Report to understand more about the success of BIDs in comparable cities. We wanted to know how the BID approach might support and improve Leeds as an international destination for talent, investment, development, entertainment and culture in the eyes of visitors, employers and investors from the UK and around the world.
“The Tour de France Grand Depart comes to Leeds in July, raising the profile of Leeds on the international stage. It also brings with it visitors and investors who will be comparing Leeds to its peers. Approving the BID proposal would ensure that, as its opportunity horizon widens, Leeds is able to compete effectively for new business and long term economic growth in the best possible light.”
The Chamber will be managing the procurement process to recruit an organisation to deliver the next phase of the BID development. Interested parties should contact Mark Goldstone, firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy of the project brief.