The City of London has secured two BID ballot successes in Fleet Street Quarter and Eastern City area.
Local businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating two new Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in the City of London securing investment plans totalling more than £30million over the next five years.
Driven by the private sector, the Fleet Street Quarter (FSQ) and EC Partnership (EC) BIDs will go live in April for a first five-year term, delivering a range of ambitious projects including major public realm enhancements, agenda-setting green and climate resilience initiatives and high-profile destination marketing campaigns. They will join the two BIDs already established in the City, in Cheapside and Aldgate. A potential fifth BID in the City, for the Culture Mile, will go to ballot in early 2023.
In the Fleet Street Quarter, of those businesses that voted, 88 percent voted ‘yes’ at the ballot. In the EC Partnership area, of those businesses that voted, 78 percent voted ‘yes’ at the ballot.
The unanimous ballot results are a strong endorsement of the work of BIDs across the Square Mile and London, where now there are more than 70. The City of London Corporation, as BID proposer across the Square Mile, is committed to supporting the development of BIDs and looks forward to working collaboratively with businesses to deliver on their aims and aspirations for a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable community, providing the platform for businesses to continue to evolve and flourish. The BID teams will now work with the City Corporation and other partners to deliver the ambitious business plans which were published in advance of the ballots being held.
With the UK’s departure from the EU and the COVID-19 pandemic, much has changed over the past 18 months. While the Square Mile’s future looking bright, there is a recognition that all districts must rise to the challenges of adapting to the impact of the new, hybrid ways of working and all which they bring, and put forward exemplar offerings to encourage office workers to return, to support inward investment and to tempt back domestic and international visitors. With increasing pressure on the public purse there has never been a greater need for a renewed focus on public/private partnership, and BIDs are a tried and tested model for turning collective will into collective action.
With a strong development pipeline and continued investment, the City is anticipating growth in the coming years. Opportunities such as the opening of the long-awaited Elizabeth Line must be harnessed. The aspirations set before the COVID-19 pandemic, around creating a broader economic base and a 24/7 culture in the Square Mile still stand.
Ruth Duston OBE OC, MD of Primera Corporation, the regeneration consultancy which helped establish both the FSQ and EC Partnerships and led the BID ballot campaigns, 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 Fleet Street Quarter and EC areas are significant, giving the private sector a real say in the future evolution of these fantastic locations.”
There are now more than 70 BIDs operating in central London. Not only providing important operational functions such as cleaning and greening, BIDs are increasingly seen as strategic partners to the public sector, providing vital ‘added value’ in districts across the capital and working hand in hand with the public sector bodies such as TfL, local councils and the GLA. Importantly, they give a voice to business communities and are able to lobby on big issues impacting on businesses.