Chester is in trouble. We’ve fallen to 59th in the CACI UK Retail Rankings with shops and businesses facing increasing competition from other towns and cities as well as the impact of online shopping.
Something has to be done to reverse the decline and I, along with many other people in the city, believe the way forward is to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in Chester’s City Centre.
In June 2013, we took the first steps towards establishing a BID by creating CH1 Chester BID Company – a dynamic team of local private sector businessmen and women who are passionate about improving the commercial heart of Chester. Primark, Boots, Marks and Spencer, Grosvenor Estates and the owners of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre Bride Hall, are just some of our founder board members.
Working together, we want to help join up the dots to drive the changes needed to create a more prosperous, exciting and vibrant city in which to shop, live, work, visit and study.
What is a BID?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led and business-funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area. All businesses involved are asked to vote on whether or not to pay a small levy on top of their business rates. Funding generated by this levy is then collected to provide a pool of money to be allocated to a wide range of initiatives, as agreed by the businesses themselves. In Chester, we are proposing a levy of just 1%, one of the lowest BID levies in the UK.
Across the UK, there are 170 towns and cities – from Blackburn to Worthing – where businesses have come together to create their own BIDs and collectively raise millions of pounds to fund wide-ranging improvements. It’s a tried and tested formula for success, helping to increase footfall and deliver bottom-line benefits.
You can find out more about the Chester BID proposal on our website here
What’s in it for you?
Creating a BID in Chester could help us raise more than £2.5m of private sector investment over the next five years. This money would be used to fund the improvements businesses in the BID area want to see.
A recent consultation identified a number of things that Chester businesses feel need urgent attention. The list includes everything from events, festivals and dedicated marketing campaigns to attract more people to our city centre, to joint purchasing schemes that enable local businesses to make real costs savings. If we get the yes vote for a BID in Chester, we pledge to tackle these first and address the real concerns of local businesses which will improve our city centre economy.
To read more about what’s in it for you, click here.
When will it happen?
We’ll be speaking with every business in the BID area leading up to the ballot, which will take place during June 2014. Each business will be sent a ballot paper through the post in early June and they will have until 30 June 2014 at 5pm to cast their vote.
This is your opportunity to influence the future of Chester City Centre. It’s your vote, use it don’t lose it! Vote YES on the 30th June. Vote YES to CH1 Chester BID.
To read more about how the BID ballot works, click here.
Want to know more?
We want to support you. Get in touch with the CH1 Chester BID team here to discuss the BID and get answers to any of your questions.