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Businesses urge “YES” vote for five more years of improvements.
Hull Business Improvement District (BID) today confirms plans for a second ballot which gives city centre businesses the chance to vote to receive support and services for a further five years from the non-profit organisation.
Hull BID Chairman, Victoria Jackson MBE, is leading the calls from the business community for her city centre colleagues to vote yes in the ballot.
Pledges of support have already come from a wide range of businesses and other organisations who recognise the major improvements made within the BID area during the last five years.
“Hull BID has made remarkable progress during the first term,” said Victoria, who became Chairman in September 2009.
“Our city centre is safer and cleaner as a result of the work of Hull BID. There are more events to benefit business by attracting people into the city centre, and there is a support and advice service which is second-to-none when it comes to helping business people in their dealings with such public bodies as Humberside Police and Hull City Council.
“It is precisely because of the financial constraints facing those authorities that Hull BID’s work is now even more important. With a team of only five people, the BID builds the partnerships that make the city centre safer, cleaner and more vibrant.”
Hull BID was launched in November 2006 after a ballot of city centre businesses. It is one of more than 110 around the country, 65 of which are in towns and cities.
By voting yes in 2006 the businesses agreed to contribute an additional one per cent of their annual rateable value to fund Hull BID’s services. The money was used by Hull BID across a wide range of projects designed to improve the city centre for workers, residents and visitors.
A Hull BID survey of businesses as part of the consultation process leading to the first ballot identified five action areas, which were safety and security, cleanliness and maintenance, marketing and events, evening economy and access and signage.
Over the five years Humberside Police report crime against city centre businesses is down, with a key element the Hull BID radio system which helps provide city centre businesses with real-time information on shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.
In addition Hull BID’s clean-up teams have almost eliminated the problems caused by graffiti in the area. Major events including the Christmas lights switch-on, Hull BID Fashion Week and the Yum! Festival of Food and Drink attract thousands of people into the city centre. Businesses opening or expanding in the city centre receive
valuable help and guidance in their dealings with planning and licensing authorities.
Jo Roos, of Segal’s in Paragon Arcade, said: “When Hull BID was starting we were dead against it. We thought it was just another way of getting money out of us but the more I got involved with it the more I could see that it does what it says on the tin.”
John Cheetham, Partner at Cheetham Allen Chartered Accountants in Wright Street, added: “I am fully in favour of Hull BID.
“On one occasion we reported a problem with graffiti at 10am and it had been cleared up by midday. The whole thing is good and the cost is not a problem. It is excellent value.”
Jim Harris, Manager of St Stephen’s, said the Centre has enjoyed great success since opening in Hull nearly four years ago.
“None of this would have been possible without the great work that the BID undertakes in the city and in particular the partnership opportunities that it promotes,” said Jim.
“Times are tough but we are confident in the future of Hull and St Stephen’s and will be continuing to invest in the scheme and the infrastructure and continuing to work closely with the BID team in the city through into a second term.”
Voting papers for the second ballot will be sent out by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) during August to businesses that are located within the geographical district and covered by Hull BID’s services. The businesses will have until Wednesday 14 September 2011 to cast their vote and the result will be announced by 5pm on Thursday 15 September.
Victoria Jackson added: “We have some new projects lined up for the second term including working to safeguard the future of Holy Trinity Church by using it for events and activities, creating a ‘hidden gems’ brochure to promote Hull’s independent shops, and we hope to introduce a scheme to help businesses reduce the cost of recycling.
“We’re also working on a smart phone app to promote city centre businesses and we are developing our online business directory to encourage people to shop locally.
“Our achievements and aims from the last five years and for the second term have been identified as a result of the Hull BID team and the Board talking to city centre businesses, and I see that as the biggest benefit.
“Hull BID now has a proven track record of talking to business, identifying business needs and delivering the services that make a difference. The business people who pay the levy have a direct say in how their money is spent, and they will continue to do so.”