The campaign to establish a Business Improvement District for Bradford city centre has been given a huge boost with the backing of the city’s university.
The support from the University of Bradford means the BID area will be expanded to take in much of the city’s “Learning Quarter.”
Professor Brian Cantor, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted to become part of the Bradford BID Development Group and to join colleagues in playing our part in establishing a business improvement district for our city.
“Bradford is a city where much is happening and being developed, and there is huge potential for the future.
“The establishment of a BID will enable our businesses and major organisations, including the University, to have a strong voice in shaping this great city and to provide clear direction in its development and progress.
“The University of Bradford is proud to be one of the city’s major institutions and to be able to play a key role in its future development.”
The announcement of the University’s backing for the BID was welcomed by Ian Ward, chairman of the BID Development Board. He said: “The University of Bradford is a fantastic institution and a key player in the future of the city and the city centre.
“It’s staff and students play an important part in the life and economy of the city’s retail heart, both shopping and enjoying its leisure facilities, as well as contributing greatly to its vitality.
“We’re thrilled the University has thrown the weight of its support behind the BID and we believe it will play a really significant role in helping to ensure the project is a major success.”
He said the University’s location in the centre of the city made it a natural partner for the BID.
“As one of the district’s biggest organisations and most important players, it is incredibly important to the city’s future development and the fact it believes so strongly in the BID should go a long way towards convincing other businesses and organisations that this project is essential,” said Mr Ward.
The University announcement follows the launch of a campaign by the city’s newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus, in support of the BID, and an expansion of the BID area to include the historic Little Germany commercial district.
The project will go to a ballot in September and the BID team have just nine months to persuade more than 600 retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, professional services companies and other firms and organisations to vote in favour of paying for a five-year project to breathe new life into the city centre. If they are successful, about £2.5 million will be raised to improve the safety, cleanliness, vitality and marketing of Bradford’s retail heart.
Similar BIDs have already been established in almost 300 towns and cities across the country and most have reported making major strides in improving the fortunes of their areas. Almost all of those who have completed their first five years have been voted in for a second term.
Following the result of the completion of a feasibility study, which reported at the end of 2017 that 70 per cent of those who responded were in favour of a BID going ahead, a Development Board has been established to carry the proposals forward to the ballot.
The Board’s key task is to draw up a business plan to tackle the list of issues highlighted in the feasibility study. The plan will operate under four key strands: Clean, Safe, Alive and Promoted. The aim is to use the funds from an annual business levy to promote and market central Bradford, encouraging investment, bring in new events, smarten up neglected areas and improve safety and security for shoppers and visitors.
Projects identified in the feasibility study include:
- Improving the appearance of empty shops
- Projects to encourage investment into Bradford
- Marketing and promotion to project the city to a far wider audience
- More major city centre events or festivals
- Street cleansing and street washing, to include chewing gum removal
- Improvements to problem areas, such as graffiti or fly-tipping removal
- Security improvements
- Greater lobbying, representation and championing of the city
- New seasonal events, including more Christmas activities
- Daytime wardens/hosts/ambassadors