Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) has launched a consultation survey ahead of their renewal ballot in June 2021 and is calling on businesses to give their feedback.
As the business-led organisation approaches the end of its first five year term, businesses in the town are being asked to give their view on the BID’s work to date and what its priorities should be for the future.
Like all Business Improvement Districts in the UK, Cheltenham BID is required by legislation to run a renewal ballot in order to continue for a second term. As part of this process, the BID has launched an initial consultation asking businesses within the BID area what they think about its achievements to date and what projects and services businesses wish to see going forward if the BID are successful in achieving a second term.
The renewal ballot will take place in June 2021, and businesses will be required to vote ‘YES’ if they’d like to see the BID renewed for another five years.
If the ballot is a success with the majority of businesses voting ‘YES’ to keep Cheltenham BID, it will run for another five years, investing over £2.1million into the town centre. If the renewal ballot is unsuccessful, Cheltenham BID will cease to exist from August 2021 and the town will lose this vital investment.
Cheltenham BID is a not-for-profit organisation funded by and working for levy paying businesses in the town centre. Originally created in 2016, the BID was voted in by businesses to represent and support over 600 levy paying businesses in the town centre. Many local businesses were directly involved in drawing up the BID’s first five-year business plan, helping to bring forward projects to promote the town and give businesses in the town centre a stronger, collective voice.
Investing the annual levy collected from businesses, the BID has delivered a wide range of projects and services to support businesses, improve the visitor experience, bring exciting new events to the town and give levy payers a collective voice on town issues.
The success of the BID has not gone unnoticed by those businesses outside the current BID operating area, and in response it is proposed that its area of operation be extended to cover a larger section of the town centre.
Businesses within the proposed new area are being given the opportunity to express their opinion on the extension during this consultation phase with a view to being included in the renewal ballot vote.
The area extension would enable wider investment across the whole town and an additional 250 organisations would benefit from the BID’s support. The proposed operating area can be reviewed here.
The consultation is open until 8 March 2021. Responses will help shape the BID’s business plan and priorities for the next five year term. The business plan will be published in May ahead of the official ballot in June.
Alex Rose, speaking as Chairman of Cheltenham BID and Managing Director of levy-paying business Beards Jewellers, said: “Looking back, the BID’s achievements are testament to the clear priorities that businesses set out at the time of inception and their ongoing commitment and support over the past four and half years.
“From spectacular new events drawing huge crowds to the many free, family friendly trails – the BID has been instrumental in bringing thousands of people to Cheltenham time and time again. It has also made a significant contribution to improving the town’s public realm – refurbishing benches, clearing litter, painting bollards to name but a few – along with ‘BID in Bloom’ and the spectacular summer floral displays that have come to symbolise the town.
“More recently and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the BID has helped businesses access grants, given them support to get online, provided social distancing stickers and face coverings and promoted the ‘shop local’ message.
“We are proud of the BID’s achievements over the last five years, but we need business feedback in order to continue building on this success. The BID’s consultation is an opportunity for levy payers to give their feedback on the BID’s work to date and have their say on future priorities, and therefore I urge all levy payers to take a few minutes to read the consultation document and complete the survey.”
Tracey Crews, Director of Planning Place & Growth of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “The BID was established to encourage growth, development and continued investment in the town centre, and through its vast array of initiatives, projects and events, it has achieved exactly that.
“The BID has been an important partner to help improve the town centre for businesses, and the BID’s investment and resource will be fundamental to support the town’s recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.”