Blackburn businesses will vote on the future of initiatives like town centre events, promotional campaigns, police support and flower planters this October.

Blackburn’s Business Improvement District will reach the end of its first five-year term at the end of this year and seek re-election through the ballot box this autumn.

The BID was first elected by around 350 town centre businesses in 2013 and by the end of 2018 will have invested £1.5 million into helping to transform the face of Blackburn’s town centre and regenerate Blackburn’s image.

As a membership organisation, The BID aims to re-invigorate the town centre by improving the trading environment and supporting local businesses to become more successful.

The BID has been well received by both business and the public over its first term and has played a significant part in regaining Blackburn’s sense of prominence and place.

A new guide for businesses has been produced looking back at the achievements of the BIDs first term. This report includes a reminder of the many high-profile events, such as Blackburn Heritage Festival, Countryside Comes to Town, the Christmas Lights Switch Ons and last year’s Fire Garden.

The team has also helped the town win prestigious awards, such as the Winner of Winners of The Great British High Street Awards and Britain in Bloom Gold Awards in 2017, as well attracting and welcoming new businesses.

The BID has been consulting its members through weekly working group meetings and digital forums, and over the coming weeks research teams will be visiting shops and offices in the BID area with questionaries’.

The aim is to find out what the members want to see the BID achieve in a new term if re-elected in October. The questionnaires will be followed up by stakeholder events, individual meetings and discussions to help the board to develop a new business plan.

Blackburn BID Manager, Harriet Roberts, said: “Five years ago, businesses voted for a BID for the town centre based on a manifesto and a business plan which reflected their priorities in 2013. The town centre has changed a lot since then and so have consumer habits.

“We have different challenges and therefore we need to go back out to businesses to find out what their top priorities are and what they would like to see if the BID is to continue beyond the end of the year.

“The consultation is chance for businesses to input in to a business plan for 2019-2023. We want to know what they would like to see improved whether its promoting the area, more police, concerns about the environment or something else.

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