BUSINESS owners in Bradford city centre are being urged to attend the launch of an “ambitious and exciting” plan to give it a £2.5 million boost.

The unveiling of the five-year strategy, to improve the heart of the city and help lift the fortunes of traders and service providers, for the proposed Business Improvement District is taking place on Wednesday June 27 at the Pictureville Cinema inside the National Science and Media Museum.

“More than a year’s hard work and planning has gone into pulling together the Business Plan for the city centre BID,” said Ian Ward, chairman of the BID Development Group.

“It’s a defining moment for the project because this is when we show businesses how we expect to spend the millions of pounds they will invest in the city centre over the next five years.”

What is the Bradford BID?

The Bradford BID Development Group has been formed by a number of local business leaders, to investigate the possible creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in Bradford.

A BID is a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area. Most are governed by a board made up of businesses who represent the BID area. This means that businesses would have a genuine voice and would decide and direct what they want for the city.

BIDs are considered to be the leading model of management and development of town and city centres, with almost 300 currently operating across the United Kingdom and it is anticipated that over £500,000 per year could be raised in Bradford to promote and add to the vitality of the city, thus increasing footfall and vibrancy across the entire city centre area.

Following the result of the completion of a feasibility study, which reported at the end of 2017 that 70 per cent of those who responded were in favour of a BID going ahead, a Development Board has been established to carry the proposals forward to the ballot.

The project will go to a ballot in September and the BID team have just nine months to persuade more than 600 retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, professional services companies and other firms and organisations to vote in favour of paying for a five-year project to breathe new life into the city centre. If they are successful, about £2.5 million will be raised to improve the safety, cleanliness, vitality and marketing of Bradford’s retail heart.

Huge boost from Bradford’s Educational establishments for the BID

The BID has already been given a huge boost with the backing of the city’s university.

The support from the University of Bradford means the BID area will be expanded to take in much of the city’s “Learning Quarter.”

Professor Brian Cantor, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted to become part of the Bradford BID Development Group and to join colleagues in playing our part in establishing a business improvement district for our city.

“Bradford is a city where much is happening and being developed, and there is huge potential for the future.

“The establishment of a BID will enable our businesses and major organisations, including the University, to have a strong voice in shaping this great city and to provide clear direction in its development and progress.

“The University of Bradford is proud to be one of the city’s major institutions and to be able to play a key role in its future development.”

Bradford College is also another major supporter of the BID.

Dawn Leak, Director of Employer Responsiveness, said: “Bradford College is an integral part of Bradford both as a community and as a business.

“We welcome the opportunity to be part of Bradford’s future investment and we want the College to be seen as a safe, welcoming and great place to learn.

“The city has a lot to offer and if the BID can make Bradford clean, safe and a lively, vibrant place to visit, shop and enjoy its long heritage, then the bid will be worth the investment that businesses put in.”

Ms Leak, a member of the College’s executive team, said an effective BID would also bring benefits for students.

“We want our students to come and study in a vibrant city that has a lot to offer both in terms of work opportunities and social activities,” she said. “Enhancing what Bradford has to offer will hopefully encourage our students from Bradford, and the surrounding areas, to choose the college to study at and enjoy what we have to offer.”

Ms Leak said she hoped the BID would help to encourage co-operation between businesses and other organisations.

“I hope that in the first year all the businesses and others involved in the BID are working together to develop a shared vision for Bradford and that, when we look back over the first year, we will have improved both the look and feel of the city centre, with cleaner, brighter streets and regular events and activities, and that we have started to raise the footfall into Bradford and put it firmly on the map,” she said.

Further development of ideas. 

The BID’s development board have been meeting up to discuss ideas, such as cleaning up the city centre.

Jonny Noble, Bradford’s city centre manager said: “It’s really important to remember that the BID will not be here to do the job that the Council is already doing. The local authority has to provide a certain level of service and will be committed to continuing to do so in a legally-binding agreement.

“So, what we have been doing is working out what the BID can bring that is over and above the basic cleaning that the streets already receive.”

Ensuring that the city is an attractive and welcoming place for residents, workers and visitors alike is the bedrock of almost every BID’s activities.

“The Feasibility Study showed that there is real concern about how parts of the city centre look and those who took part highlighted some major areas for it to tackle,” said Mr Noble.

“To improve the appearance of empty shops, for instance, we aim to introduce attractive vinyl wrapping and animation on long-term empty units; liaise with landlords to make them aware of issues with their property early so they can act to stop them falling into disrepair; remove fly-posting and graffiti and ensure it is photographed as evidence for possible enforcement action; deep-clean vacant doorways and entrances and introduce a cleaning programme for problem windows and door frontages.”

If the BID goes ahead, the streets will be subject to a rolling programme of hot-washing and there will be a proactive cleansing regime every morning with a special focus on removing debris left by rough sleepers or late-night revellers.

And business owners should also be able to call on a service clean up hazardous waste if they spot it.

Other clean-up projects would include a special team to remove graffiti and fly-tipped rubbish, a scheme to monitor and improve trouble-spots, and working with partners to create awareness and improvement campaigns and organise events such as BID community clean-up days.

“BIDs up and down the country have had a huge impact on helping to make their areas nicer places to be for all who use them,” said Mr Noble. “Bradford has come a long way in that respect, but businesses know that a BID can give them the power to take the cleanliness of our city to a new level and that can only be good for increasing footfall and investment.”

If you think the BID is a good idea for Bradford or simply want to learn more, then an official launch will be taking place at Pictureville Cinema, at the National Science and Media Museum on Wednesday 27th June at 6pm.

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