Cardiff businesses have been given until the end of June to decide whether they will vote for a Business Improvement District (BID) for Cardiff City Centre. The £7.5m proposal will be decided by businesses voting either for or against the business plan drawn up following 12 months of business consultation led by a Task Group made up of 16 local businesses representatives.
Cardiff is one of a handful of UK cities currently without its own BID, yet it has the potential to become one of the largest BID areas in the country representing over 700 businesses and investing £7.5m in business priorities over an initial five year period. The business plan explains how the BID will focus on encouraging people to visit the city centre more often, staying longer and investing more in the local economy. There are three key themes set out in the business plan – making the city centre more Welcoming; Vibrant; and Influential. The Plan will work for all business sectors to enhance the overall experience for city centre as a place to visit, study, meet work and invest.
Businesses are being asked to look out for the business plan and their ballot papers arriving in the post, and they have between 2nd June and 30th June 2016 to cast their postal vote. Ballot must reach the independent Electoral Reform Services by 5pm on 30th June. Businesses occupying more than one eligible property will be sent more than one ballot paper – one ballot paper per property.
The Manager of Marks and Spencer, Simon Philips, also chairs the business Task Group set up to drive the BID forward, said:
“I am asking businesses to take the time to read the business plan and vote Yes for the Cardiff BID. The Plan is the result of extensive engagement and consultation with Cardiff businesses. A Task Group made up of local business representatives has been working hard, using the business feedback, to create objectives, projects, and budgets for a Cardiff BID. The BID is a great way to develop and manage the environment in which we all operate, providing business leadership for an area and acting as a stimulus for visible improvements, but importantly it also provides a united voice of influence and opinion.
Local independent businessman and Wally’s Deli owner Steve Salamon is supporting the BID for Cardiff.
“I fully support Cardiff BID, it will enable all businesses, both national and independent, to work together to provide a better experience for residents and visitors. The independent sector in Cardiff is creative, talented and hard-working and has been vital to Cardiff’s growth for over a century, and the BID will inject important new funding to ensure this continues”
BIDS are funded by the businesses within a defined BID area. If a majority of businesses vote yes for the BID, this will raise £7.5 million over 5 years to deliver the improvements that will directly benefit business and the city. If the BID vote is successful, all eligible businesses will pay a levy of 1% of the rateable value of the business. Smaller businesses with a rateable value of less than £25,000 are exempt from paying the levy and will not have a vote. The BID levy is an investment and typically for every £1 invested, businesses can expect to see a £3 return.