Property owners could get a greater role in revitalising their high streets under plans announced by Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk.
BIDs – Business Improvement Districts – allow local companies to work together to develop a vision for their area, pool funds and deliver projects to improve town centre safety, support local traders, establish parking initiatives and help to spruce up the high street.
Current rules only allow businesses to formally pay into and vote in a business improvement district. But ministers want to see how property owners can also be added to this equation.
Some BIDs have been very successful in West London, notably HammersmithLondon which works to improve Hammersmith town centre. Others – like the failed Park Royal BID – have not.
The Government hopes the proposals outlined today would 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, Ministers feel some may have seen their plans hampered by the lack of involvement of the building owners. Reforming the scheme would enable property owners themselves to have a direct say and play an active part in regenerating trading areas.
Mr Prisk also announced a £500,000 loan fund to set up more business improvement districts, and will be scrapping regulations to ensure these partnerships can be set up within a business area – rather than restricted by administrative boundaries – the Park Royal BID had to win not one but three ballots to be approved, one for each of the boroughs it sat in.
Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said: “A business improvement district can make a real difference, bringing the key players together to make the high street an attractive and pleasant place to visit.
“ That’s why today I’m announcing plans that would bring landlords into the mix, so that everyone with a stake in our high streets has a chance to participate.”
The HammersmithLondon BID will be talking about their work during Place West London on October 22.