Local businesses could raise thousands of pounds to improve their trading environment if councillors support the concept of Business Improvement Districts. This is a chance, at last, for traders to have a say in how their business rates are spent.
A business improvement district, or BID, enables businesses in a defined area to contribute via their business rates to a central fund. The money is ring-fenced for specific purposes identified by the traders.
Early research indicates that Lanes and North Laine traders would like to use the money, which could be up to £853,000 over a 5-year period, to spend on a range of services including cleaning up graffiti and buying Christmas lights.
Brighton & Hove City Council’s policy and resources committee will be asked at a meeting on 9 November to vote on whether they will support the City Centre Business Forum’s proposal to investigate the potential to set up BIDs in the city centre.
If the council gives the BID its backing, traders from the area will be presented with a comprehensive, fully costed business plan and asked vote on the proposals in the spring of next year on whether or not to give the scheme the go-ahead.
The Business Forum, which is promoting the idea, could manage the scheme. Brighton & Hove City Council, who would also contribute towards administration costs, would collect the money but it would be ring-fenced for the BID.
Deputy leader of the council Sue John said, “The traders decide how to spend the money. Whatever it goes on will be designed to improve the area. So far graffiti removal and new Christmas lights have been suggested, but there are no limitations and other options are to spend the money on things like improved security, street lighting, marketing, extra street cleansing, or events.”
Tony Mernagh, chief executive of the Business Forum, said, “A BID will only happen if enough businesses want it to. At last it really is an opportunity for the business community to decide how their money is spent and make improvements to their area that will give it the edge that will translate into increased profits”
For more information about the Brighton & Hove BID click on the BID icon on the top right hand side of this page
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