In May, Liverpool BID Company will ballot 456 businesses in its existing commercial BID area and proposed extended area and a yes vote for renewal will trigger significant investment. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool BID Company is unveiling a five-year plan to invest £7m into public realm, connectivity and business support as it looks to expand its footprint across the city.
Established in 2005 the BID (Business Improvement District) not-for-profit company currently represents around 1,500 businesses in Liverpool’s retail and commercial districts, which count as two separate BIDs. It excludes Liverpool ONE.
Businesses with a rateable value of £10,000 and above pay a small levy on top of their business rates to fund the work of the BID. This work includes improving public realm and cleanliness and providing extra levels of security. It also creates initiatives to drive footfall and acts a lobbying voice for its members.
Every five years the levy payers are balloted to see if they want the BIDs to continue. The retail and leisure BID, which stretches from the top of Lord Street to Church Street/Whitechapel to the top of Bold Street and the bombed out church and across to Parker Street and St Johns Shopping centre, is not due for renewal until 2023.
However, the commercial district BID is up for renewal this year and, as part of the process, the BID company is aiming to extend its footprint along the waterfront as far as ACC Liverpool and to the area around St George’s Hall and Lime Street.
Businesses in the existing, and new proposed, areas will be notified of the ballot on April 29 with the ballot running from May 13 to June 10. If more than 50% of businesses vote yes, by number and rateable value, the new BID area will begin on June 12, 2021.
There will be 456 businesses balloted with 274 comprising existing levy payers in the commercial district which is centred around Old Hall Street and currently extends to the Dale Street and Castle Street areas. Another 131 waterfront businesses, 35 in the St George’s area and 16 around Pall Mall and Hatton Garden, known as the King Edward Triangle, will also be included.
A yes vote will trigger a spending programme which will see £7m invested across both BID areas over the next five years. This will include a new project to improve connectivity from the waterfront to Lime Street, working with Merseyrail and bus providers, and an upgrade of public spaces and squares including St John’s Gardens and Derby Square.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic it ill also look to help make Liverpool more resilient by creating a so-called ‘subvention’ fund to attract conferences and business events and representing the city at global forums.
The BID Company will continue to take the lead on Christmas decorations and seasonal animation with local producers, artists and creatives and will extend the successful BID Police Team and BID Street Rangers to make the city centre safe, clean and welcoming.
Liverpool BID Company chief executive Bill Addy is also keen on creating a Pool of Life route, celebrating the city’s heritage. It would trace the old pool of Liverpool, an inlet of the River Mersey which ran through what is now Canning Dock, up Paradise Street, Whitechapel and up to William Brown Street.
“The work we have done over the past 16 years has helped to transform Liverpool city centre. With investment in the public realm, in improving connections have helped to make the city centre a better place to live, work and visit for everyone,” said Mr Addy.
“This extended BID area allows more of the city centre to be managed and supported to create a coherent offer to both business and visitors. We know the public purse is shrinking and the BID levy payers are committed to working to improve the environment and condition of Liverpool.
“As we move into a post-pandemic world, Liverpool city centre has to be a place that attracts business, tourists, residents and day to day visitors. How we use city centres may shift so we need to work to keep Liverpool forward facing, ambitious and agile.”