Local businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating a new Business Improvement District (BID) in the Culture Mile area of the City of London securing investment plans totalling more than £9m over the next five years.
Driven by the private sector, the Culture Mile BID will go live in April for a first five-year term, delivering a range of ambitious projects including major public realm enhancements, agenda-setting green and climate resilience initiatives and high-profile destination marketing campaigns. The Culture Mile BID will join the four BIDs already established in the City, Cheapside Business Alliance, EC BID, Fleet Street Quarter and Aldgate Connect BID.
In the Culture Mile Partnership, of those businesses that voted, 85% voted ‘yes’ at the ballot (88% by rateable value).
The ballot results are a strong endorsement of the work of BIDs across the Square Mile and London, where now there are more than 70. The City of London Corporation, as BID proposer across the Square Mile, is committed to supporting the development of BIDs and looks forward to working collaboratively with businesses to deliver on their aims and aspirations for a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable community, providing the platform for businesses to continue to evolve and flourish. The BID team will now work with the City Corporation and other partners to deliver the ambitious business plans which were published in advance of the ballots being held.
The Culture Mile BID will be investing in a range of strategic and operations projects anchored by the ESG agenda. The BID will focus on:
- Create a more environmentally sustainable business district and tackle climate change in line with the City Corporations targets, specifically those within the Climate Action Strategy 2020-2027.
- Drive the continued post-pandemic recovery by supporting the return of office occupiers to the workplace, reviving international tourism, addressing recruitment challenges in the hospitality sector and helping the local economy adapt to new consumer profiles/behaviour.
- Maintain our role as an important bridge between the private and public sector, enabling partnerships that drive positive change not only in the BID area but the wider community too. We recognise that the area benefits from a vibrant and diverse community, with many residents who add real value to the area and its businesses. The partnership created by the BID will extend to all stakeholders.
- Use the collective strength of the BIDs in the City to lobby for continued local and central government investment in the CM BID area, keeping the Square Mile at the forefront of our economy.
With the UK’s departure from the EU and the COVID-19 pandemic, much has changed over the past few years. While the Square Mile’s future is looking bright, there is a recognition that all districts must rise to the challenges of adapting to the impact of the new, hybrid ways of working and all which they bring, and put forward exemplar offerings to encourage office workers to return, to support inward investment and to tempt back domestic and international visitors. With increasing pressure on the public purse there has never been a greater need for a renewed focus on public/private partnership, and BIDs are a tried and tested model for turning collective will into collective action.
With a strong development pipeline and continued investment, the City is anticipating growth in the coming years. Opportunities such as the opening of the long-awaited Elizabeth Line must be harnessed. The aspirations set before the COVID-19 pandemic, around creating a broader economic base and a 24/7 culture in the Square Mile still stand.
Andrew Smith, Chairman of the Culture Mile Business Partnership said:
“I’m delighted that our business community has recognised the huge opportunity that a BID for the Culture Mile area represents. The news today means we will be able to deliver significant enhancements, enabling the private sector to help drive a new vision for the area. We stand ready to deliver our ambitious plans and working with our partners, the City and the local community we will now be able to play a leading role in this iconic area, curating and creating an attractive, competitive and resilient destination for London.”
Deputy Policy Chairman and Chairman of the City BIDs Strategic Partnership, Keith Bottomley, said:
“This new BID – the fifth in the Square Mile – will help to unlock the power of public and private sector partnership for this unique area.
“The launch of the City Corporation’s new Destination City programme, designed to ensure the City evolves to remain a world-class destination, aligns well with the aspirations of the Culture Mile BID. BIDs are business led bodies, but I’m confident that collectively we can secure the best outcomes for all: workers, visitors, investors, and residents alike.”
Ruth Duston OBE OC, MD of Primera Corporation, the regeneration consultancy which helped establish the Culture Mile Partnership and led the BID ballot campaign, 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 the Culture Mile area are significant, giving the private sector a real say in the future evolution of these fantastic locations.”
There are now more than 70 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 can lobby on big issues impacting on businesses.
Find out more about the Culture Mile BID here