9th November – Blackburn town centre and retail park businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a third five-year term for Blackburn town centre Business Improvement District (BID).
336 businesses were asked to vote in a secret ballot on whether they wanted Blackburn BID – which originally launched in 2014 – to continue, along with its plans to raise a further £1.5 million to spend on projects and initiatives to boost the town centre and support businesses over the next five years.
92% of those who took part in the ballot voted in favour of a third term of Blackburn BID. The ‘yes’ vote represented 91% of the individual business votes and 93% of the total rateable value of the properties owned and managed by those who voted.
Blackburn BID is a business-led, business-funded partnership set up to deliver improvements in, and add value to, Blackburn town centre and its retail parks. Within the designated BID area, a levy is charged to business rate payers which is based on a small percentage of the rateable value for business rates.
Under UK national regulations, BIDs must hold a ballot every five years to determine whether they should continue, and more than 50% of those who take part in the ballot, representing more than 50% of the total rateable value of those who take part, must vote ‘yes’ for it to go ahead. Every business which pays the BID levy has the opportunity to vote.
The levy charge – which applies to every business with a rateable value of over £10,000 – is used to deliver projects and services which drive footfall to Blackburn town centre, because research shows that the more people who visit an area, the more they spend in local businesses.
Blackburn BID Chair, Nicola Clayton, also Director of Business Development & External Engagement at Blackburn College, said: “This is fantastic news and a huge vote of confidence from our brilliant town centre and retail park businesses. I’d like to thank all our BID members for their support for Blackburn BID to date and for backing a further investment of £1.5m over the next five years so that we can continue to make real progress with positive changes for the future.”
The ‘yes’ vote means that the BID will start to deliver its new five-year business plan prospectus from 1 January 2024, which responds to the needs that businesses have identified as priorities – which include marketing and promoting Blackburn as a vibrant town centre; creating a safer and more secure Blackburn town centre; creating a cleaner, greener and more sustainable environment; and supporting businesses with information and advice.
Blackburn BID manager, Catherine Price, said: “It’s been my pleasure and privilege to manage Blackburn BID through its second term and I’m absolutely delighted that it will continue for a further 5 years.
“Blackburn BID has achieved huge amounts during its first two terms and has supported businesses through incredibly challenging times including the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m looking forward to building on those achievements over the next 5 years and continuing to work with and support our amazing BID members.
“We are now full steam ahead for an amazing Christmas in Blackburn town centre, starting with ‘From Broadway to Blackburn: Christmas Lights Switch On Spectacular on 25 November 2023’.”