London is to be given powers which will draw property into Business Improvement Districts, High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis has announced.
Following a consultation, the government has confirmed that the role of landlords is crucial to the future success of town centres and that they should be part of a business improvement district where there is local agreement.
This move was supported by a range of London businesses, local authorities, and the business improvement districts industry, and will pave the way for the role of property owners to be formalised in business improvement district schemes.
London can be given these powers due to the unique way it is funding Crossrail through a business rates supplement. Regulations which will enable property owner business improvement districts are due to come into force in October.
High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis said: “ Community leadership that works together to revitalise their town centre work best and landlords are an important part of that jigsaw. Bringing property owners into business improvement districts means they can contribute to the plan and take into consideration a different perspective, including for unoccupied premises.”
Ratepayer funded business improvement districts have been around since 2004. The current rules only allow business occupiers to formally establish a business improvement district. Under the new scheme, landlords and property owners will also now be able to do so.
The Government thinks the inclusion of landlords and property owners has the potential to offer a shot in the arm to business improvement districts and high streets. While local businesses may be enthused and engaged about breathing new life into their town centres, in the past they may have seen their plans hampered by the lack of involvement of the building owners.