Local businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of renewing the City of London’s first Business Improvement District (BID) – the Cheapside Business Alliance (CBA) – for a second five year term and also for creating a new BID in Aldgate – the first BID for Tower Hamlets.
The successful ballot results announced today (Friday 14 February) means the two BIDs will be able to deliver ambitious improvements in the areas around Cheapside and Aldgate.
In Cheapside, of those businesses that voted, 94% voted ‘yes’ at the ballot (95% by rateable value). In Aldgate, of those businesses that voted, 92% voted ‘yes’ at the ballot (94% by rateable value).
The ballot announcements are a strong endorsement of the achievements of the CBA under its first five year term, after it was initially established in 2015 and of the work of the Aldgate Partnership that was created back in 2014. The positive results are also a show of support for increased public / private collaboration across the City of London and London as a whole.
The BID teams, led by specialist regeneration consultancy Primera Corporation, will work with the City Corporation, Tower Hamlets and other partners to deliver the ambitious business plans that were published in advance of the ballots being held. The City Corporation is the BID proposer for those parts of the BIDs within the footprint of the City.
For the CBA, the BID’s work will continue to enhance the area’s important position in the heart of the City’s economic powerhouse and its growing reputation as a 24/7 leisure and retail hot spot. Approximately £2.5 million will be invested into the area over the BID’s second term.
Over the next five years, the new Aldgate Connect BID, which is a cross borough BID between the City and Tower Hamlets, will invest around £4 million in a range of strategic and operational projects. The BID’s aim is to ensure Aldgate businesses and the local community, new and old, can maximise the benefits of the significant transformation the area has seen in recent years.
The City of London is expected to see significant growth in the coming years, with a growing working population and more leisure visitors. While there is significant opportunity in this growth, there are some substantial challenges with issues such as traffic congestion, air pollution, and a squeezed public realm coming to the fore. The City of London Corporation sees BIDs as a key vehicle for engaging with communities to promote ongoing regeneration of areas and harnessing opportunities to the maximum.
Alongside the CBA and the Aldgate Connect BID, the City Corporation is also backing two innovative business partnerships (pre-cursors to BIDs) in the Eastern City Cluster and Fleet Street.
There is growing acknowledgement that all areas in the capital are raising their game, no matter how well known or iconic. The drive to compete for the best talent, a rightful share of the tourist market and entice domestic visitors has never been more important.
Ruth Duston OBE OC, MD of Primera Corporation – Executive Director of the CBA and the Aldgate Connect BID said:
“BIDs in the capital are a powerful and strategic force for good. From transformational public realm projects, to supporting small businesses and making areas safer, cleaner and more pleasant places to visit or work, BIDs have a proven track record for driving change and innovation. These positive results mean that the opportunities for Cheapside and Aldgate are significant, giving the private sector a real say in the future evolution of these fantastic locations.”
There are now more than 60 BIDs operating in central London. Not only providing important operational functions such as cleaning and greening, BIDs are increasingly seen as strategic partners to the public sector, providing vital ‘added value’ in districts across the capital and working hand in hand with the public sector bodies such as TfL, local councils and the GLA. Importantly, they give a voice to business communities and are able to lobby on big issues impacting on businesses.