Firms set for £1.5m boost in new scheme

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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