01 Mar 2015

Resounding result for Leeds as city centre businesses vote yes for Business Improvement District


Businesses and organisations in Leeds city centre have voted overwhelmingly in favour for the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) which will be instrumental in driving the area forward to compete on a global scale and provide a coordinating voice to unite its businesses and communities.

It will generate up to £10m to invest in the city over the next five years and create the third largest BID in the country by income, and the 200th BID nationally.

Over 1,000 businesses and organisations in the retail, leisure, cultural, office and public sectors in the area covered by the BID were given the opportunity to vote on whether they wanted a BID and the results of the ballot sees 84 percent of those that voted and 86 percent by rateable value backing the BID.

The news has been warmly welcomed by John Bywater, chairman of BID4Leeds, the not-for-profit company set up to establish and run the Leeds BID.

“We are delighted that businesses have voted so enormously in favour of the BID. This is a resounding success and is great news for the city,” said John Bywater. “It reflects all the hard work that has been put in so far by so many people and demonstrates that there is a clear appetite amongst businesses for the BID which will come into existence on 1 April 2015. We now look forward to delivering the initiatives set out in the Business Plan to ensure that Leeds remains a top ranked city in the UK and goes on to compete with other European cities.”

A Business Improvement District is a business-led partnership which enables coordinated investment in the management and marketing of a commercial area.

The Leeds BID will focus on a series of projects around the themes of; ‘The Leeds Welcome’, ‘The Leeds Experience’ and ‘The Leeds Voice’.

The aim is to achieve higher standards in physical place shaping and investment in the city: raise the profile of the city with consumers in the immediate and wider geography to increase footfall, dwell time and spend.

There will be greater coordinated marketing and event activities to ensure more impact and visibility to our businesses, and in addition the BID will seek to add value to businesses through cost saving initiatives and innovation.”

The activities will be funded by a 1.25% levy charged to those businesses in the area covered by the BID that have a rateable value of over £60,000.

Leeds City Council executive member for transport and the economy Councillor Richard Lewis said; "We are delighted that businesses have voted to support this idea, which will generate £2million a year of direct investment to further aid the development of the city centre and strengthen the Leeds economy as a whole. This is a great example of public and private sector elements coming together to make a difference and we look forward to the BID starting in April and making Leeds city centre an even more attractive and vibrant place to be.”

Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy at Leeds Chamber of Commerce commented; “This is a great result for Leeds and a strong message from the business community that they wish to support the ambition set out in the BID4Leeds proposal. The BID will invest and support activities which will benefit businesses right across the city centre.”

“This overwhelming YES result is a true vote of confidence in the city, the BID and the huge opportunity it represents for all businesses,” said Kevin Duffy, general manager, Trinity Leeds. “The BID gives us a long term strategy to ensure Leeds remains competitive in the UK and Europe, building on its compelling status as a place to do business, to live and to visit.”

Prew Lumley, partner with Squire Patton Boggs said; “I am absolutely delighted that businesses in Leeds have voted ‘yes’ to the BID. As a partner in a global law firm I truly believe that the BID will enable Leeds to boost its international profile which will, in turn, encourage investment and growth for the area. I have every confidence that the BID will prove to be a very positive force within the city.”

Whilst Richard Clogg, general manager of Park Plaza commented; “The BID4Leeds vision comes at an ideal time to further capitalise on the significant investments already made throughout the city. The BID is the next stage to drive the city centre forward, raise the profile throughout the UK as well as internationally.”


Notes to editors;

1. The BID area will cover the city centre within the ring road and the river taking in south of the railway tracks to the water, east to Quarry Hill, north to the cultural quarter, arena and university and west to Wellington Street and Whitehall Road.

2. It will operate for a period of five years before being presented to businesses once again for potential renewal.

3. Business Improvement Districts have proved to be hugely successful in numerous other locations around the UK and Ireland, with over 190 BIDs now in existence including in the majority of major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle. Proven to be the most sustainable model of place management, these BIDs invest in excess of almost £200 million in their areas annually.

To view or download a copy of BID Business Plan and for further information please visit http://www.bid4leeds.com/

For media enquiries please contact: Judi Coppel, Gemini PR & Marketing – 07811 323373.

Contact information

Leeds City Council Communications team