Local businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating a new Business Improvement District (BID) in the Culture Mile area of the City of London, securing investment plans totalling more than £9m over the next five years.
Driven by the private sector, the Culture Mile BID will go live in April for an initial five-year term, with the remit to deliver a range of projects that include major public realm enhancements, agenda-setting green and climate resilience initiatives, and high-profile destination marketing campaigns.
The Culture Mile BID will join the four BIDs already established in the City, Cheapside Business Alliance, EC BID, Fleet Street Quarter and Aldgate Connect BID.
In the Culture Mile Partnership, of those businesses that voted, 85% voted ‘yes’ at the ballot.
There are more than 70 BIDs across the capital, with the latest proposed by the City of London Corporation.
Andrew Smith, Chairman of the Culture Mile Business Partnership, said: “I’m delighted that our business community has recognised the huge opportunity that a BID for the Culture Mile area represents.
“The news today means we will be able to deliver significant enhancements, enabling the private sector to help drive a new vision for the area. We stand ready to deliver our ambitious plans and working with our partners, the City and the local community we will now be able to play a leading role in this iconic area, curating and creating an attractive, competitive and resilient destination for London.”
What can we expect the Culture Mile BID to focus on?
According to the BID team, Culture Mile BID will be investing in a range of strategic and operations projects anchored by the ESG agenda, including:
- Creating a more environmentally sustainable business district and tackling climate change in line with the City Corporations targets, specifically those within the Climate Action Strategy 2020-2027.
- Driving the continued post-pandemic recovery by supporting the return of office occupiers to the workplace, reviving international tourism, addressing recruitment challenges in the hospitality sector and helping the local economy adapt to new consumer profiles/behaviour.
- Maintaining a role as a bridge between the private and public sector, enabling partnerships that drive positive change not only in the BID area but the wider community too.
- Using the collective strength of the BIDs in the City to lobby for continued local and central government investment in the CM BID area.
Deputy Policy Chairman and Chairman of the City BIDs Strategic Partnership, Keith Bottomley, said: “This new BID – the fifth in the Square Mile – will help to unlock the power of public and private sector partnership for this unique area.
“The launch of the City Corporation’s new Destination City programme, designed to ensure the City evolves to remain a world-class destination, aligns well with the aspirations of the Culture Mile BID. BIDs are business led bodies, but I’m confident that collectively we can secure the best outcomes for all: workers, visitors, investors, and residents alike.”
The Culture Mile BID team said that with increasing pressure on the public purse “there has never been a greater need for a renewed focus on public/private partnership”, and stressed that BIDs are a “tried and tested” model for turning collective will into collective action.
Ruth Duston OBE OC, MD of Primera Corporation, the regeneration consultancy which helped establish the Culture Mile Partnership and led the BID ballot campaign, said: “BIDs in the capital are a powerful and strategic force for good. From transformational public realm projects, to supporting small businesses and making areas safer, cleaner and more pleasant places to visit or work, BIDs have a proven track record for driving change and innovation.
“These positive results mean that the opportunities for the Culture Mile area are significant, giving the private sector a real say in the future evolution of these fantastic locations.”