A PROPOSAL to set-up a Hereford Business Improvement District (BID) was launched in the city last night.
A group of like minded businesses in Hereford have decided it is time to make an investment in the future prosperity of the city. A loan has been taken out from the Department for Communities and Local Government to see if a BID can be set up in Hereford.
A BID is a legal entity set up and run by businesses in a specific geographic area and there are now more than 170 of them in towns, city centres and industrial parks across England.
The Hereford group has come up with ideas for projects but is looking for feedback from other businesses.
“I recognised a void in Hereford city, with no form of traders association, city centre partnership, or any similar entity to look after the interest of businesses in the city centre," said John Jones, partner at Philip Morris and Son.
"I took the approach that if we were going to do this, we’d do it properly, from zero to best practice in one step. I didn’t want to create a body that had no mandate, no money and no ability to deliver, so set about creating the most effective body possible - a Business Improvement District.”
When BID's are set up a steering group carries out extensive consultation with businesses in a specific geographic area to determine what projects would most help the local economy to thrive.
They publish a business plan which sets out a range of projects and how much money will be needed from each business to deliver this plan.
Each eligible business in the area described in the plan gets a postal vote to say whether it is for or against setting up a BID.
If the vote is successful, all the businesses in the area will invest in the BID to deliver the selected projects by paying an annual levy.
The BID will last for five years and at the end of that time a new plan will be developed and businesses will have another chance to vote for or against the proposal.
Dan Guerche, general manager at Play nightclub, said the creation of a BID would bring positive benefits to the city.
“The BID will invest time in creating a better town centre to live, work and shop," said Mr Guerche. "This will create employment and that means more customers for us all.”
A survey is the first stage in working out what projects to include in the initial proposals.
Over the coming months the group behind the BID will be getting out to meet every business and seek their views on the plans.
But any that would like to be visited straight away can email John Jones on HBID@philipmorrisdirect.co.uk or Georgia Smith, Hereford BID project manager on info@towncrafting.co.uk
The people behind the BID steering group include representatives from Herefordshire Council, Hereford City Council, Visit Herefordshire, Young Enterprise, as well as businesses and other organisations such as All Saints’ Café, Fit Clothing, Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Primark, Chave and Jackson, and Hereford Cathedral.