Liverpool’s City Central Business Improvement District (BID) has won a resounding Yes vote in its five year ballot – triggering a £5m boost to the city centre.
The Electoral Reform Services recorded 182 Yes votes compared to 84 no votes – or 68.4% in favour – in the month long postal ballot, which ended at 5pm on Friday, June 21.
The decisive result – City’s Central’s best in four elections with a 43% turn out – saw a 10% increase between the yes and no vote from the 2008 ballot.
Ian Ward, Chairman of City Central BID, which represents more than 631 businesses in the retail heart of Liverpool city centre, said: ”This is a stunning result. The past five years has been one of unprecedented economic turmoil which the retail sector has suffered greatly from – so to record a bigger yes than in 2008 is a huge achievement and shows our members believe in their BID and what we can achieve when we work together.
”This yes vote is not just brilliant news for our businesses but for visitors and for our partners in Liverpool because we have great plans to further improve the way the city centre functions over the next 5 years. There are some big challenges ahead but we can now face them with the confidence that we have such amazing support.”
As part of the ballot, City Central members were given a 20 page Business Plan outlining the key aims and objectives, as well as the challenges and opportunities to strengthen the city centre’s status as one of the UK’s top 5 retail destinations.
The 1.2% levy has been frozen in the plan which spelt out proposals to focus on the environment, events, marketing and safety with the implementation of new activities such as:
A free app to connect City Central and Commercial BID – in which 70,000 people are employed
A £600,000 free wi-fi programme for the city centre
Free media training
By securing a successful vote, the result will trigger a £5m investment within the BID at a time of huge public cuts and the continuation of programmes such as:
Police centre at St Johns
Free Radio Alert service
Mystery Shop survey
City Central BID, which is supported by Liverpool City Council, will now also develop strategies for animating vacant units and lighting up of key locations and most crucially, will negotiate a new, independently monitored cleansing regime with flexibility to target hot spots.
The business plan was put together through a series of consultations, conversations and debates with BID members and stakeholders over the past 18 months. It aims to benefit businesses and their trading environment within the Business Improvement District.
Ged Gibbons, Chief Operating Officer of City Central BID, said: ”This result is deeply humbling. We never for one second took any vote for granted and to secure such a resounding yes is a huge seal of approval for what we try to do every day on behalf of our members and the city centre.
”We have achieved a great deal since 2008 but there is much still to do and having listened to all the comments, the praise and the criticisms we have worked tirelessly to create a plan which we believe will continue to improve the city centre and strengthen its appeal as one of the top five retail destinations in the country.
”Liverpool city centre is one of the most dynamic in the UK and to be entrusted with such overwhelming support of the private sector is a huge responsibility. It’s a task we are excited to accept and determined to deliver on.”
Bill Addy, Chief Executive of Liverpool BID Company, added: ”The City Central BID team are a huge asset to Liverpool and this great result is an acknowledgement of the value they add to the city centre. They have developed many brilliant partnerships to make things happen for the benefit of all those who work in and visit the city centre. It’s immensely gratifying to see that they have now been given the opportunity to continue to build on those platforms and fully exploit their potential over the next five years.”
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: ”Liverpool is very fortunate to have one of the best BID’s in the UK and I am delighted the businesses in the city centre recognise that fact by rewarding City Central with such a comprehensive win.
”I look forward to working with the BID company in our shared aim to enhance the city centre’s reputation as one of the best to invest, visit and shop in as well as promoting it as the safest and friendliest.”
City Central BID 2013-2018 Ballot – THE RESULT:
By number of votes:
Yes 182 (68.2%) (2008 = 168 at 63.8%)
No 84 (31.8%) (2008 = 95 at 36.2%)
By rateable value:
Yes £22,594,000 (68.8) (2008 = £20.435m at 67.6%)
No £10,229,750 (31.2%) (2008 = £9.768m at 32.4%)