Businesses urged to Vote ‘Yes’ in BID Ballot

20 June 2013

Sunderland City Centre businesses are about to start voting on whether they want to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) that would see investment of at least £3.4m over the next five years.

Ballot papers are being posted out to all 454 eligible voters today and businesses have until 5pm on 18th July 2013 to return their vote. They will decide whether to invest together to make the city centre a cleaner, brighter, safer place with more events, marketing and promotion and a vibrant evening economy.

Copies of the BID Business Plan have been delivered to all city centre businesses this week. The plan is based on extensive consultation over the last six months with businesses from all sectors, including pubs, restaurants, retailers, professional services, taxi drivers, creative industries and service providers. The top priorities for businesses are a more attractive and safe city centre, along with encouraging people to visit more often, stay longer and spend more while they are here.

Andy Bradley, Chair of the BID Steering Board and Centre Director of the Bridges Shopping Centre, said: “The Sunderland BID is a private sector initiative driven by businesses for businesses. During all the consultation events businesses have been incredibly enthusiastic about the BID plans and are excited about the positive impact it would have in the city. We need everyone who has shown support so far to get behind the BID and vote yes in the ballot.”

The Sunderland BID would be funded by a 1.5% levy on the rateable value of those eligible businesses located within the BID area. For example, if the business rate is £15,000 – the entry threshold for paying the levy – the cost will be £225 a year or £18.75 per month. Businesses with a rateable value below £15,000 will be exempt from paying the levy, although they will still benefit from the improvements if a Yes vote is secured. 

Harry Collinson owner of Collinsons Jewellers is also Chairman of the Sunderland City Centre Traders Association (SCCTA) and a passionate supporter of the BID: “The BID is a fantastic opportunity to work together with traders as a major voice for businesses in the city centre. We’ve all had the chance to put forward our ideas and it’s great to see that the Business Plan truly represents what we as businesses think can make the biggest difference to the city centre economy. By voting yes in the ballot we can make sure those ideas are brought to life and help create a more vibrant Sunderland.” 

Gary Hutchinson, Chair of Sunderland Business Ltd and Chairman of NECC Sunderland, said: “A flourishing city centre would benefit the whole of Sunderland and the surrounding area. We want to put the heart back into the city and give local people more reasons to feel proud of their city. As well as more events and better marketing the BID gives businesses the chance to capitalise on the estimated £30m of planned new city centre developments by the City Council, and its partners.”

Copies of the BID Business Plan can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

BID Sunderland Business Plan 2014 – 2019

For further information contact:
Stacy Hall, Stacy Hall Associates Ltd, email: [email protected], tel: 07939 148482