City centre businesses to vote on future of Preston BID
City centre businesses are to be balloted in the next few weeks over the future of Preston BID.
The Business Improvement District contract is up for renewal next spring and traders will be asked if they want to see it continue for another five-year term.
BID has been operating in Preston since 2009, financing projects to improve the economic prosperity of the city centre.
The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, which operates BID, is looking for a fourth term to build on the good work it has already done to "deliver activity that supports local business while creating a safer, more vibrant and better-looking central business district."
More than 800 businesses in the city centre pay a levy of one per cent of their rateable value to fund the service and they will all be asked if they want BID to continue until 2027.
The ballot will be held from Tuesday October 19 until 5pm on Thursday November 18 and the result is expected to be announced within two days.
In its manifesto for a fourth term, the Chamber says that, if selected, the levy on businesses over a new five-year period would amount to almost £2m.
It urges businesses to support the scheme for another term "to drive your city centre forward and build on the solid foundation we've laid."
It adds: "In just three terms the BID has delivered real change and improvements for the city, but there is still more to be achieved."
In BID's 13 years working for city centre businesses it has attracted more than a quarter of a million people to 80-plus events, increased footfall in the city centre, generated £12m spent by people attending BID events, funded a raft of improvements like street washing and winter planting and installed more than 10 miles of Christmas lights.
In its latest manifesto BID says it will invest in organising even more events to attract shoppers and visitors, continue to invest in Christmas programmes, work with property agents to develop ideas for empty shop units and work on improvements to CCTV to protect property, customers and staff.
"Given the world we currently live in, losing the BID would have serious consequences for businesses operating in the city," it says.
"Now is the time that high streets up and down the country need to fight harder than ever before, working smartly in partnership to ensure the long-term viability of the high street."