Newport council backs city centre rescue plan
NEWPORT City Council is committed to supporting the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city.
In an email seen by the Argus, the cabinet member for infrastructure, John Richards confirmed the council will support the chamber of trade in attempting to create a BID.
Cllr Richards, said: “Weare working with the Chamber of Trade on the development of a city centre BID (Business Improvement District). The Chamber of Trade will lead the process with assistance from NCC.”
The news will come as a boost to city centre traders trying to stop the steady exodus of shops.
Just last week clothes store Internacionale quit the city centre following Marks & Spencer out of Commercial Street.
Alan Edwards, president of Newport chamber of trade, welcomed the council’s backing but said now the key was to make people aware of how BID can help their business.
Mr Edwards, said: “I understand we have the support of the council and council officers and that’s positive but now we need to get traders on board.
“If you go round the shops in Newport and ask about BID they will probably look at you silly because they don’t really know anything about it.”
For a BID area to be set up, 51 per cent of the businesses within that defined geographical area would have to vote in favour of it.
Mr Edwards said the chamber will be hosting a meeting on January 31 at 6pm at the Castle Room at the Newport Centre.
For more information, contact Mr Edwards by email on email@example.com
How BIDs work
RUSSELL Greenslade is chief executive of Swansea BID.
Here, he explains how BIDs work and how they set up Swansea’s.
When was Swansea BID set up and why?
“Swansea BID was started in 2006. A paper came from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office at the time, asking local councils if they wanted to set up a BID. Swansea Council seized the opportunity and set about the project, securing a successful ballot in 2006.
“A BID term is five years, after which it has to be voted in again by the businesses.
We secured a successful renewal ballot in 2011, at challenging economic times.
We are elected by the businesses, so if a BID doesn’t deliver, it doesn’t get voted for, in essence. Swansea was one of the original pilot UK BIDs.”
How do you set one up?
“The local authority has to lead on it and fund the ballot etc. Businesses are then consulted with to gain a successful ballot. Once a successful ballot is obtained, a private company is set up, with its own board of directors to run the Business Improvement District as a not-for-profit, limited- by-guarantee company, with people such as myself employed by the company to run it and deliver the business plan and move the company forward, to benefit the businesses and city centre.
How long does it take?
“Depends. Historically, onetwo years in some cases.”
What are the benefits?
“A BID is a direct response to businesses’ ideas, to improve their trading environment and enhance profitability.
Through a BID, businesses in the area can help control their trading environment, driven by a private sector management approach. A BID also enables and ensures better collaborative working between public and third sectors, with anything a BID delivers being above and beyond what local authority does in the BID area.
Collaborative working is key and is something we have developed very well in Swansea with the local authority, to benefit all.”
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