BRINGING a new shine to the city centre will be one of the top priorities if Bradford’s Business Improvement District plan goes ahead.
Hot-washing the streets, removing the chewing gum menace, improving the appearance of empty shop units and applying anti-graffiti coatings in key areas are just a few of the projects that are likely to be tackled.
The BID Development Board has identified four key pillars for the project to focus on over its five-year duration, when a levy on more than 600 city centre-based businesses and organisations will raise at least £2.5 million to fund improvements. The shops, leisure and hospitality firms, professional and legal services companies and others will be balloted on whether the BID should go ahead in September and the Board is working on a draft business plan which they will be consulted on this summer.
The four pillars of the plan – Safe, Clean, Alive and Promoted – cover the main areas identified for action in a feasibility study carried out last year, in which 70 per cent of the businesses who responded said they supported the BID project.
Jonny Noble, Bradford’s city centre manager, chaired a sub-group of development board members who were asked to pull together ideas for cleaning up the city centre.
He said: “It’s really important to remember that the BID will not be here to do the job that the Council is already doing. The local authority has to provide a certain level of service and will be committed to continuing to do so in a legally-binding agreement.
“So what we have been doing is working out what the BID can bring that is over and above the basic cleaning that the streets already receive.”
Ensuring that the city is an attractive and welcoming place for residents, workers and visitors alike is the bedrock of almost every BID’s activities.
“The Feasibility Study showed that there is real concern about how parts of the city centre look and those who took part highlighted some major areas for it to tackle,” said Mr Noble.
“To improve the appearance of empty shops, for instance, we aim to Introduce attractive vinyl wrapping and animation on long-term empty units; liaise with landlords to make them aware of issues with their property early so they can act to stop them falling into disrepair; remove fly-posting and graffiti and ensure it is photographed as evidence for possible enforcement action; deep-clean vacant doorways and entrances and introduce a cleaning programme for problem windows and door frontages.”
If the BID goes ahead, the streets will be subject to a rolling programme of hot-washing and there will be a proactive cleansing regime every morning with a special focus on removing debris left by rough sleepers or late-night revellers.
And business owners should also be able to call on a service clean up hazardous waste if they spot it.
Other clean-up projects would include a special team to remove graffiti and fly-tipped rubbish, a scheme to monitor and improve trouble-spots, and working with partners to create awareness and improvement campaigns and organise events such as BID community clean-up days.
“BIDs up and down the country have had a huge impact on helping to make their areas nicer places to be for all who use them,” said Mr Noble. “Bradford has come a long way in that respect but businesses know that a BID can give them the power to take the cleanliness of our city to a new level and that can only be good for increasing footfall and investment.”