Today’s guest blog is from Jo Hawkins, Redcliffe & Temple BID Development Manager at Destination Bristol.
A ballot which will take place from 18 March – 15 April 2021 will determine whether a Business Improvement District (BID) will be introduced in the Redcliffe and Temple area; a successful outcome would result in over £5m of investment for the area over the BID term. A BID is a defined area in which business rate payers pay a small levy into a fund for a fixed period of time. This levy is used to develop projects which will benefit businesses in the local area.
I am leading on this project with my colleague, Tom Swithinbank; development of the initiative is being proposed and funded by Destination Bristol which already operates the very successful Broadmead and Bristol City Centre BIDs. If successful at ballot, all eligible businesses will contribute an annual levy. The aim is to make Redcliffe and Temple an inspirational, sustainable and welcoming place for businesses, employees, visitors and residents; for it to be known as a thriving commercial district and an outstanding community which all involved are proud to be a part of.
So much has changed since we started to develop the BID Business Plan which was circulated to businesses earlier this month. The global pandemic has shone a light on many of the challenges already facing our city. The climate emergency has meant much more focus on how we can reduce pollution, encourage sustainable travel and generally reduce our impact on the environment. As businesses navigate a challenging future, a BID is seen as critical to help them recover from the effects of the pandemic by providing funds to deliver improvements which have been identified by the businesses within the proposed BID area.
An extensive consultation process has identified the following five themes, which will be the focus of the BID if it is successful at ballot:
- Creating & maintaining quality spaces
- Improving sustainability & the environment
- Creating & promoting a vibrant place
- Connecting & representing businesses
- Building a safe & caring community
During the development of this project, we have been very grateful for the support of our Advisory Group, comprising representatives from businesses who are keen to work collaboratively with the BID to shape the future of the area.
Many of the projects in the Business Plan were identified before the pandemic and all focus on making the area a better place for everyone. Recent consultation has revealed that they are now even more important. Like all city centres, Bristol will continue to evolve, it will remain a critical hub for people and for businesses. Although we are experiencing a very challenging period now with many currently working from home, people are keen to return to offices for at least part of the week and will need to be reassured that their surroundings are clean, safe and well-managed. The Redcliffe & Temple BID will give us the opportunity to work together towards a tangible and effective recovery.
We are excited about the opportunities presented by the BID which will focus on co-ordinating improvements, caring for our people, the environment and the public realm while promoting this fast-changing and rapidly evolving area.
Our focus in the coming months is to promote the proposals outlined in the Business Plan, ensuring that businesses are fully aware of this exciting opportunity and encouraging them to vote YES in the ballot.