Businesses across Rochdale town centre have voted to form a Business Improvement District (BID), in a move which could generate £1.5 million over 5 years.
76% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID by total number of businesses, and 88% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID by rateable value. Turnout was 52.5%.
The cash is generated through an annual levy on business rates of businesses which have a rateable value of more than £12,000 within a defined area. In Rochdale, it will be used to help attract more shoppers, better promote the town centre offer and improve safety. The BID will operate for 5 years from April 2019.
The positive result follows 18 months of planning, in-depth interviews, surveys and workshops and a month-long ballot in which hundreds of businesses and other organisations were asked to vote on the proposals. The plans were spear-headed and driven by a steering group of business representatives from across the town.
The move was backed by organisations large and small, including the Wheatsheaf and Exchange shopping centres, the Regal Moon, Chantilly and the Flying Horse.
We’re in the BID area and so we’ll also pay the levy, which is 1.75% of the business rates, to help fund the additional projects over and above the services we already provide.
The BID is managed by a board made up of different town centre organisations. Over the next 5 years, it aims to:
Create a brand and identity for the town centre to further promote its many businesses, as well as creating more events to complement the existing programme
Boost safety and introduce uniformed daytime rangers or ambassadors to help people in the town and improve the visitor experience
Further develop the public realm with additional, targeted cleaning and floral displays and work with businesses to tidy up empty buildings
Work with us and RDA to address the business offer by creating more opportunities for retail and leisure to complement the new Rochdale Riverside scheme and attract more office-based businesses into the town centre
Lorenzo OReilly, Centre Manager of the Exchange Shopping Centre and Chair of the Rochdale BID Development Steering Group, said: “This is superb news for Rochdale and huge congratulations must go to all the businesses which rallied and joined forces to ensure we secured the yes vote. Our new BID will be led and driven by the businesses themselves and this funding and commitment of collaboration will enable us to build on the town centre’s unique strengths and assets.
“Thanks must also go to all those businesses who engaged in the process by sharing their ideas and opinions on how we can work together to improve the area and who, ultimately voted in favour of the plans.
“The BID’s business plan, which businesses were being asked to vote on, has been designed to begin addressing the issues which came up during lengthy consultations with many of the businesses in the BID area, from the small independents to large national businesses.”