City BIDS helping to shape Square Mile of the future

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Across the Square Mile, business communities are working together, investing millions of pounds and delivering ambitious agendas to support business growth and enhance local areas.

Through collaboration with the City of London Corporation, the four City Business Improvement Districts are turning collective will into collective action.

With a fifth BID proposed for the Culture Mile next year, business communities are ushering in a new era of public private partnership. In this feature we hear from some of those closely involved in this work, outlining both the opportunities and the priorities.

Keith Bottomley, City of London Corporation Deputy Policy Chairman, Chairman of the City BIDs Strategic Partnership

The City of London Corporation is a big supporter of the principle of BIDs. We anticipate five operating across the Square Mile by Spring 2023, generating an aggregate annual income of around £9 million.

Collaboration has long been a key part of the City’s DNA and must be the defining feature of our future. We are committed to working with our BIDs through public and private sector partnership to develop new ways of doing things and accelerate the renaissance of the Square Mile. We want to create the best possible environment for businesses to grow, and our collaboration with the City BIDs is critical to this mission.

Andrew Smith, Chair,
Culture Mile Partnership

For Culture Mile, we have listened to local businesses and wider stakeholders and they have shaped the proposal for a fifth BID for the City of London.

This fascinating area has a diverse, creative and vibrant business mix and an engaged and active residential population, and we have the opportunity to bring our community, cultural and corporate businesses closer together, maximising the potential for creative collaboration and growth. I hope businesses seize this significant opportunity.

In the coming months as we approach the ballot, we will be out and about, meeting businesses and sharing this vision. I hope voters sees the potential for this BID and vote yes at the ballot. A positive outcome will secure this ambitious blueprint and help provide a platform for growth for all businesses that call Culture Mile home.
Read the draft BID proposal at
www.culturemilebid.co.uk

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Andrew Reynolds, Chair, EC BID

At the Conservative Party conference last week growth was the watch word, and it was encouraging to hear from Business Secretary Jacob Rees Mogg, Andrew Griffith the City Minister, and the Prime Minister, all talking about the important role the City of London will undoubtedly play in driving the growth agenda.

Even more encouragingly, this vocal support for the City of London was accompanied by acknowledgement that partnership is the essential component that will turn the government’s growth plan into delivery on the ground.

We are the UK’s largest occupier BID by income and are therefore well placed to be a leading champion for our business community, the Square Mile and the wider UK economy. With a plan built around some key pillars, I want to highlight three of our major areas of focus, where work is already underway:
Firstly, we are supporting the City’s position as a global leader, boosting our competitive edge and building partnerships around the world. Having that international outlook will help underpin the growth that is so needed.

Second, we are at the heart of the moves to reposition the City of London, broadening the area’s appeal, shifting perceptions, and supporting efforts to evolve the Square Mile into a genuine 24/7 destination. Third, we are helping to shift the dial around the ESG agenda, and crucially the ‘s’ part of this. Developing new thinking and solutions that deliver ‘profit with purpose’, and amplifying the great work being led by many of our members.

From the return to the workplace to infrastructure investment – we are committed to putting forward insight-driven innovative thinking, helping businesses navigate their way through the new landscape we find ourselves in.
I believe we are entering a golden era for public private partnership, and BIDs sit right of the heart of this new revolution.

Liam Hayes, Chair, Aldgate Connect BID

The Aldgate Connect BID is a proud area steward and champion. We know how important the experience of visiting the Aldgate area is to our businesses and the local community, and therefore our work to shape the physical environment is vital. Our new public realm strategy comes on the back of huge investment in business and residential development in recent years which has seen the area change significantly.

As we continue to recover from the COVID pandemic, and supercharge the renaissance of the capital city, the quality of our ‘offer’ is more important than ever. Ensuring that our places are welcoming, attractive, safe, and inclusive will play a key role in encouraging the return of workers and visitors, securing a more resilient and vibrant future for the whole Aldgate area.

A series of projects have been identified, including enhancing the gateway points at the southern boundary of the area. The proposed projects include several artworks and installations that could be carried out by residents and artists. We are also developing a long-term vision for Aldgate and Whitechapel High Street to mitigate the vehicular impact on the High Street and make upgrades to the streetscape. The strategy also includes a continued focus on the renowned Petticoat Lane.

Excitingly, the new Public Realm Vision and Strategy, which we commissioned Gensler to deliver, has already been shortlisted for a New London Award 2022.
You can vote for us in the ‘People’s Choice Award’. The voting deadline is November 1 2022.
nla.london/projects/aldgate-connect-public-realm-vision-and-strategy

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Image source Simon Jacobs

Charlotte Fletcher
Chair, Cheapside Business Alliance

The pandemic had a profound impact on offices and workspaces, with hundreds of thousands of commuters shifting to home working. Of course, the recovery is now well underway and new research indicates that City workers are back at their desks for around three days a week; but we are still striving to regain pre-pandemic levels for workers and visitors, and this is demanding new ways of thinking.

The Square Mile has a proud tradition of adapting and pioneering and we will do exactly that as we continue to face the challenges – and opportunities – around the recovery. The Cheapside Business Alliance is proudly playing its part and we are helping to shape a more resilient, more vibrant, more welcoming, and more diverse Square Mile.

The City of London Corporation’s new Destination City proposition is a great example of this new approach. The Golden Key on October 15 will transform the City’s streets with immersive events, theatre, participatory games, and performances for all ages. Some exciting activity is planned for the CBA footprint, including the St Paul’s Fair which will take the form of a bustling interactive marketplace.

Partnership with the BIDs will be a key component of Destination City as it rolls out in the coming months. For this first event, for example, many bars and restaurants in our footprint will be open and supporting the event, encouraging visitors to dwell in the area late into the evening.

We are committed to working with the City of London Corporation and other stakeholders to help shift perceptions about the City, showcasing its significant assets and promoting our wonderful businesses. Our support of the new In the City app is a case in point, which is a partnership project with the City of London Corporation and the other City BIDs.

The In the City app can be downloaded for free at inthecityapp.com or via the App Store or from Google Play.

Roy Pinnock, Fleet Street Quarter, Public Realm Chair

The current ‘flight to quality’ that we are seeing in the central London office market presents significant opportunities for the Fleet Street Quarter. With new businesses investing and relocating and an office development pipeline on a scale rivalling Kings Cross, we are seeing the office sector undergoing a fundamental shift.

Major companies are recognising that in order to attract and retain the best talent, the ‘offer’ has to be exemplar. For the BID, as stewards, champions, and delivery agents of change, I believe this will ultimately result in us shaping a stronger, more resilient city. The economy certainly is facing headwinds that need to be overcome, and growth has to be the answer.

Our businesses are investing over £12m to deliver projects on the ground to stimulate growth, and this will be the catalyst for further investment from public sector partners and investors. Our role supporting businesses as they seek to grow, whether that be in creating a safe and inclusive environment or pioneering transformational improvements to the public spaces across the area, is vital. The world continues to change fast, and businesses are doing what they do best – adapting and innovating.

Through partnership we can ensure that these changes can be harnessed, with BIDs helping to supercharge the recovery through linking ambition, investment, insight, and creativity.

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