Preston Business Improvement District vote is open

Businesses within Preston city centre are to be given the opportunity to vote on a third-term for the Business Improvement District (BID).

The BID, which is currently in its second term, began in Preston in 2009. It is now asking businesses to support its renewal and help shape the economic benefits a third-term will bring to those operating and trading in the city centre, over the next five years.

The BID has a mandate to work with businesses who subscribe to the BID to enhance opportunities for trade across the district it covers.

Preston’s BID, managed by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, has over the past eight years worked in partnership with city centre businesses and local authorities to improve trading conditions in the city centre.

Since 2009, the BID has organised and funded the majority of the city’s Christmas offer, including the Christmas lighting scheme, the switch on, TV advertising and events. BID’s events, staged since 2009, have attracted in excess of 700,000 people to Preston.

BID’s key projects cover all sectors of the city centre, retail, professions and the leisure economy. Winckley Square is currently undergoing a £1.2m investment, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant kick-stated by an investment of £180,000 from the BID to support rejuvenation of the city’s professional quarter.

John Boydell, Chair of Preston BID said:

“The city has changed considerably since BID started in 2009, and we’ve had to rightly adapt and modernise. We’ve enjoyed the support of hundreds of businesses who regularly back and engage with our campaigns. Going forward, should we receive a ‘yes’ vote, we will continue to adapt and offer a BID fit for a 21st century city centre. It’s an exciting time for Preston with so many major regeneration projects underway. We see the BID as a vital ingredient to a successful and vibrant city centre.”

The BID is electing to continue its operations for a further five-year term. Throughout this term an anticipated fund of £2.7m will be generated and invested in safety, security, vibrancy and visual improvements.

Businesses with a rateable value of £10,000 or more, pay a 1% levy to a ring-fenced fund, managed by the BID to fund improvement measures.

Should the BID receive a ‘yes’ vote, it will continue to invest in the city’s CCTV upgrade project, stage high profile events to attract custom, power-wash the city’s pavements and lobby stakeholders for change on key issues affecting the city’s businesses such as congestion and anti-social behaviour.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the NWL Chamber said:

“Key issues affecting business in the city centre have to be addressed; this is a core function of the BID and the Chamber of Commerce. We have recently enjoyed success in securing improvement measures for the city centre. Preston needs the BID to continue to ensure businesses are provided with every opportunity possible for them to continue to thrive, create employment and invest back in to the community.”

Danny Houghton, Partner of Moore and Smalley said:

“I would like to thank the BID for the excellent work that the BID team has done thus far. We are moving in the right direction and must keep the momentum going by voting positively.”

Insp Steve Anderton, Geographic Inspector – Preston Police said:

“The Preston City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team has been working in partnership with BID throughout their elected period in order to continue working towards both organisations efforts to make Preston a safer and more secure place to work in and visit. The BID is an invaluable partner for the Neighbourhood Policing Team within Preston City Centre and this partnership has clear benefits for the Businesses and visitors to the City.”

St Georges shopping centre manager, Andrew Stringer said:

“The BID has been working tirelessly to deliver a vision aimed to enhance and promote the prosperity of our city, attract more business to our city, attract more visitors to our city and to improve and promote the security of our city – don’t let this end, vote YES for this to continue, to make YOUR city the place to live, work and do business.”

Businesses will receive their voting papers at end of September / beginning of October and have just over three weeks to cast their vote. The result of the ballot will be announced on Wednesday 2nd November. If it’s a ‘yes’ vote, the BID will continue for five years, if it’s a no vote the BID will cease on March 31st 2017.

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