BID on the menu at new city centre restaurant
4 November 2015
Southampton businesses are being urged to back latest plans for a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city by attending a free event at the newest restaurant in town.
A launch evening will take place at JRC Global Buffet, The Marlands, next week with all city centre businesses invited to attend and have their say about potential ideas to improve the area and boost trade.
Led by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, a steering group of experts has been formulating plans for a BID to bring businesses together to fund local improvements and initiatives.
Chamber chief executive Stewart Dunn said: “Because the BID would be completely business-led, the first stage is for Southampton city centre businesses to make their points and kick-start the plans.
“We have been inundated with inquiries, but want to make sure no one misses out on a chance to air their views on what are the main issues facing the city centre, what improvements they would like to see and what their views are on a BID.”
The exclusive inaugural event is being held at the brand new JRC Global Buffet at The Marlands on Tuesday, November 10 between 5.30pm and 7pm – the day before the city’s new 500-seat ‘world banquet’ restaurant opens to the public.
Cllr Simon Letts will give the city council perspective on the current situation, outline the opportunities for Southampton and explain why the council is supporting the BID initiative.
This will be followed by a presentation by a representative of Newcastle’s BID, which was launched in 2009 for a five-year period - and businesses last year voted overwhelmingly in favour of renewing it until 2019 at least.
Attendees will also hear results of a city business survey, attend short workshops on issues facing Southampton, enjoy a free buffet of fantastic worldwide cuisine and still have time for networking.
A Southampton BID could see traders contribute a small annual levy towards improvements for the city centre, such as street cleaning, improvements of public spaces and events to attract more visitors – items above and beyond that already provided by the Government.
There are already BIDs in place elsewhere in the county, with Winchester's scheme providing funding for three Police Community Support Officers - and the city has seen an overall crime reduction of 17.9% and shoplifting reduction of 16% in the past 12 months.
Businesses there have saved money – In the first year of implementing a joint procurement of utilities for businesses the BID saved participating businesses £31,563 (August 2011 to July 2012).
The Winchester BID has also funded the annual Christmas lights, more than 500 hanging baskets, the removal of chewing gum and gaining Purple Flag status for the night time economy.
Latest figures from British Bids, the business-led industry body focused entirely on establishing and maintaining quality services and standards for Business Improvement Districts, show there are now 220 BIDS in the UK.
Mr Dunn added: “Although six years ago city centre traders voted against previous plans for a BID, we believe the time is now ripe to explore ways of ensuring more jobs and prosperity by 2020.
“If you are a business in Southampton City Centre then we would love to hear your views on what are the main issues you are facing, what improvements you would like to see and what your views are on a BID.”
Invitations for the November 10 event have gone out across the city centre and anyone wishing to attend can register by emailing info@southamptonBID.co.uk or calling 02380 206150.