Choose Abingdon Partnership board members were pleased to hear on Friday of the decision from the Department of Communities and Local Government that their application for £33 000 has been approved.
The money has been earmarked to support the town’s businesses in deciding how they form themselves into a Business Improvement District, or “BID”. There are 170 locations around the country where businesses have voted in favour of this method of managing a commercial area.
Choose Abingdon Chairman, Bryan Brown, was involved in one of the first BIDs established in the UK, the New West End Company, and has seen how a BID can improve footfall and trading conditions in an area.
After a successful ballot a BID can only stay in place for a maximum of five years and then the ballot has to be held again. Choose Abingdon Partnership Manager, Heather Brown, has been watching to see how other BIDs have performed around the country. “BIDs have been around in the UK since 2004, but I wasn’t sure if they were right for Abingdon town centre and wanted to see if other areas were satisfied with their BIDs. Now the number of towns holding successful renewal ballots is very striking. Some have even voted in their BIDs for a third time. I think it’s time we offered this opportunity to our businesses as it’s clearly something that other places have found to be a benefit.”
The BID project will be overseen by the Choose Abingdon Partnership, but run by a BID team composed of businesses within the proposed BID area. “We are here to guide and put in the legal and technical work, but not to tell the businesses what to do.” emphasises the Partnership Manager. “This spring we will be consulting all the town centre businesses to ask them what they would like to do to improve business conditions, and then gathering up the proposals into a plan for the BID to carry out. Once we have a plan, we can ask the businesses to vote to support it or decide against.”
If you are an Abingdon business and would like to keep in touch with what’s happening on the BID project text the message ABINGDONBID to 66777 and register to be included in all the BID project communications.