Businesses in Luton town centre have voted in favour of plans to renew the Business Improvement District (BID), securing a significant £2 million to be spent on further improving the area.
The positive result follows 18 months of planning, in-depth interviews, surveys and workshops to review the current initiatives of the BID and collate new ideas for the next five years. The suggestions were all considered to form a new Business Plan which led to a month-long ballot in which businesses in the area were asked to vote on the proposals.
68% of businesses by number and 73% by aggregate rateable value voted in favour of the BID. As a result of the yes vote the renewed Business Improvement District plan will come into effect on 1st January 2020.
Businesses with a rateable value of £12,001 or above will pay a levy based upon their rateable value, creating a collective fund of more than £2 million to spend over the next five years.
The plans were spearheaded and driven by a steering group of business representatives from across the area, supported by pfbbUK, who develop and deliver Business Improvement Districts across the country.
Gavin O’Brien, CEO of Clearhead Media and Chair of Luton BID, said “This is excellent news for Luton and huge congratulations must go to all the businesses that joined forces to ensure we secured today’s yes vote. Our BID will continue to be led and driven by the businesses themselves and this funding and commitment of collaboration will enable us to build on the area’s already established strengths and assets.
“Our thanks must also go to all those who engaged in the process by sharing their ideas and opinions on how we can continue to deliver and improve on the first five years of the BID and who, ultimately, voted in favour of the plans.”
The first objective in the new business plan is to continue and build on the ongoing promotion of Luton Town Centre. Currently established projects include celebrating customer service excellence with the Mystery Shopping Business Award scheme and these will continue to promote the vast offering available in the area. There will be emphasis put on working together with others to showcase the businesses in the town centre and build on marketing and promotion across a range of platforms and channels to establish events as a key part of the attraction of Luton.
The second objective is to ensure the town centre is accessible, distinctive and appealing. Projects already established such as window vinyl’s on vacant units to maintain a smart presence, beautiful floral displays throughout the summer months and targeted street cleaning to improve the cleanliness of the area will continue. The BID will also be working with Luton’s Cultural Trust, Luton Borough Council, the University and others to develop the different areas of the town centre such as the Hat District and the University Quarter so that they look and feel great.
The third objective will see the BID working to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors and workers in Luton town centre to enjoy. Already established projects such as the uniformed Ambassadors and the digital radio subsidy scheme in the area will continue. The BID will also be working with the Police, local authority and other partnership organisations to tackle antisocial behaviour, street drinking and begging alongside developing business crime intelligence sharing opportunities.
The final objective is to continue to build on the strengths of the business community to support and promote growth, development and investment. Projects which already form regular activities of the BID will continue such as the monitoring of footfall and sales in the town centre and the encouragement of bringing new businesses into the area which complement the existing mix. The next five years will see the development of links with the local authority, the University and other organisations develop a commercial, retail, leisure, arts and cultural framework for the town centre.
The BID will deliver the new objectives of the business plan over the next five years as a result of the yes vote.