Firms set for £1.5m boost in new scheme
BUSINESSES have voted to form a Business Improvement District (BID) in a move which could generate £1.5m over five years.
The positive result follows 18 months of planning, in-depth interviews, surveys and workshops and a month-long ballot in which hundreds of businesses and other organisations in Rochdale were asked to vote on the proposals.
The plans were spear-headed and driven by a steering group of business representatives from across the town.
The move was backed by organisations large and small, including the Wheatsheaf and Exchange shopping centres, the Regal Moon, Chantilly and the Flying Horse.
Lorenzo O’Reilly, Centre Manager of the Exchange Shopping Centre and Chair of the Rochdale BID Development Steering Group, said: “This is superb news for Rochdale and huge congratulations must go to all the businesses which rallied and joined forces to ensure we secured the yes vote.
“Our new BID will be led and driven by the businesses themselves and this funding and commitment of collaboration will enable us to build on the town centre’s unique strengths and assets. Thanks must also go to all those businesses who engaged in the process by sharing their ideas and opinions on how we can work together to improve the area and who, ultimately voted in favour of the plans.”
The council, which is in the BID area, will also pay the levy, which is 1.75 per cent of the business rates, to help fund the additional projects over and above the services it already provides.
Seventy-six per cent of votes cast were in favour of the BID - by total number of firms in the BID area.
In Rochdale, it will be used to help attract more shoppers, better promote the town centre offer and improve safety. The BID will operate for five years from April 2019.
Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration at Rochdale Council, said: “We’re proud to have backed the bid. Businesses are the backbone of our town centre and have a critical role to play in its redevelopment. This new BID is the ideal opportunity to build on the massive improvements which have taken place in Rochdale in recent years and will help take the town centre further forward as its ongoing transformation continues.”