A new plan for Bradford city centre aims to help it create a positive environment that’s better for business and provides a “vibrant experience” for all who use it.
The five-year strategy was set out by Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) at the launch of its new Business Plan 2023-28.
The Plan, presented to an audience of business owners and leaders at The Light cinema, in Bradford, laid out how up to £2.5 million would be spent on improvements to the city centre over the period.
The raft of proposals include working closely with partner agencies to reduce street begging, rough sleeping and other antisocial behaviour; improving the look and feel of the city centre via schemes such as additional lighting, street dressing, floral planting and greening; projects to encourage further investment into the city centre; developing more major events or festivals; working directly with the City of Culture Team and partners to maximise opportunities in the lead up to, during and after 2025; and overseeing marketing and promotion activities to project the city centre to a far wider audience.
The BID’s first term will come to an end later this year and the highly-praised organisation will be launching a ballot at the end of August to secure a second five years, running until the end of 2028.
Almost 600 levy-paying businesses and organisations will be asked to support the BID by voting “Yes” in the ballot which comes to a close on September 28, with the result announced the following day.
The BID is a limited not-for-profit company funded by a small levy on businesses and organisations within a specified area of the city centre. It is run by an operating board made up of representatives of all sectors and the levy take is used for projects to help promote and develop the city centre.
Introducing the new plan, Ian Ward, general manager of The Broadway shopping centre and chairman of the BID, said: “We hope our new Business Plan will show we are ready to build on our successes and help take Bradford up to, through and beyond our landmark year as UK City of Culture.
“Our vision is to build a city centre that is even cleaner and safer, that is dynamic, packed full of life and culture, that is prosperous and thriving.
“With new developments like One City Park, Bradford Live, Darley Street Market, the City Village and Transforming Cities projects such as the new Interchange station entrance and Hall Ings pedestrianisation, there is no more important time to have in place an organisation dedicated to ensuring that Bradford presents its best face to the world.
“The next five years will present a crucial opportunity to change our city’s culture and economy for the better, to create a new landscape for a brighter future.
“The new BID objectives, set out in this plan, have been brought together from an extensive consultation exercise and survey and many, many hours of conversation with levy-payers.
“They represent the key priorities for businesses and key organisations in the BID demise as expressed and explained directly to us.
“We’re confident that, with your support, we can help to bring about the transformation Bradford needs, wants and deserves.”
The BID’s objectives for the second term will focus on three key areas: creating a “Positive Environment,” making the city centre “Better For Business” and generating a “Vibrant Experience” for all those who live, work, visit and enjoy their leisure time here.
BID manager Jonny Noble said: “We’ve learned a huge amount over our first five years and the BID has grown and matured so that our new Business Plan is much more strategic in its approach.
“We’ve had fabulous support from our levy-payers across all sectors of the city centre and I’d like to thank them for that – and for helping us to form this new approach and develop our thinking about the role the BID needs to play as the city moves forward between now and 2028.
“Our ambition as a team is to be totally fit for that purpose. We are proud to be the voice of businesses in the city centre and we want to continue to represent their needs as the city marches ahead.”
The BID’s Positive Environment plans also include employing a small “clean team” to remove litter and graffiti, clean empty shopfronts and improve cleanliness with a bespoke call out service for BID member businesses; continuing with the hot washing and chewing gum removal; providing a Marshal service across the different daytime and night time economies, to liaise with BID member businesses and members of the public assisting with their needs; and prompt greater involvement in the Green Economy to reduce landfill, reducing the city centre carbon footprint.
Under Better for Business, it will also: arrange business updates, networking events and staff training focusing on specific sector needs; provide business growth advice or support; co-ordinate greater lobbying, representation and championing of the city centre; and continue to promote the city centre gift card scheme to reach a wider audience, increasing direct spend into BID member businesses.
Other initiatives aimed at creating a Vibrant Experience include: providing recognition of the city as a destination for a safe night out via the Purple Flag accreditation; organising social media campaigning to ensure members of the public are aware of the activities taking place in the city centre; creating marketing and promotion around the city centre activities and events, focusing on evening and night-time businesses; and further developing the support function for the evening and night-time economy, delivering accreditation schemes and bespoke training for staff.