Birmingham’s fourth Business Improvement District has been given the green light after traders voted firmly in favour of the Southside proposal.
Firms and organisations on the southern edge of the city centre, including the Chinese Quarter, the Gay Village and the Hippodrome Theatre, will work together to fund agreed environmental and security improvement projects.
The BID will strengthen Southside’s position to capitalise on major development opportunities, including New Street Gateway and the Wholesale Markets site, according to the city council.
All traders in the BID area will pay a two per cent levy on their business rates, generating £1.75 million over five years.
Ballot results released by independent scrutineer, Electoral Reform Services, show that 82 per cent of all those who voted were in favour of the Southside BID progressing.
A council spokesman said: “Southside has rightly emerged as a distinctive quarter within Birmingham’s expanding city centre, driven by a unique mix of developments including restaurants, bars and clubs which characterise the area’s Chinese Quarter and Gay Village, the Arcadian Centre, the Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Radisson Blu Hotel and O2 Academy.
“The Electric Cinema, Old Rep Theatre and the National Trust Back to Backs also add to the area’s eclectic mix.”
Southside BID chairman Stuart Griffiths, chief executive of the Hippodrome theatre, said: “This is a very positive day for businesses in Southside. With the establishment of the BID, we will now be able to deliver a whole range of enhancements to the area that will improve the experience of those who work and visit here and also unlock Southside’s ability to attract more investment, employment and visitors.
“I believe today’s resounding result in favour also demonstrates that businesses understand the real difference that a BID can make to an area. We will now have a single voice to represent all of the business interests in Southside with the capacity and expertise to promote and champion this diverse market mix.
“We have seen, not only through the three existing BIDs in the city centre, but from others around the world, how they can make a significant impact on the district in which they operate. I am confident that in Southside we can now begin to realise the area’s full potential as a contemporary urban village set within Birmingham’s wider city centre.”
The Southside BID will deliver on 10 key pledges including:
• Improve the visitor experience
• Create a safe and welcoming environment
• Promote a clear identity and profile for the area
• Provide an effective ‘business’ voice
Birmingham’s three existing BIDs are Broad Street, Retail Birmingham and Colmore Business District, collectively bringing in over £10 million of additional investment.