PROMOTING the city centre, bringing in more visitors and encouraging investment will be right at the top of the agenda if Bradford’s Business Improvement District plan goes ahead.

The BID Development Board has identified four key pillars for the project to focus on over its five-year duration, when a levy on more than 600 city centre-based businesses and organisations will raise at least £2.5 million to fund improvements.

The shops, leisure and hospitality firms, professional and legal services companies and others will be balloted on whether the BID should go ahead in September and the Board is working on a draft business plan which they will be consulted on this summer.

The four pillars of the plan – Safe, Clean, Alive and Promoted – cover the main areas identified for action in a feasibility study carried out last year, in which 70 per cent of the businesses who responded said they supported the BID project.

A sub-group of development board members were tasked with pulling together ideas for marketing the city and bringing in greater investment.

Diana Greenwood, senior tourism development officer at Visit Bradford, who chaired the promoted sub-group, said: “One of the most effective things a BID can do is to raise the profile of its area outside the city, improving its image and helping to bring in more people who, in turn, can help to spread the word about Bradford being a great place to visit, shop and enjoy their leisure time.

“Our task was to pull together some of the great ideas businesses have for encouraging visitors and investment and turn them into projects we believe the BID can deliver over the course of its five-year initial term.”

Projects to encourage investment in the city centre included targeted marketing of Bradford as a place in which to “work, play and stay,” repositioning it more strongly as tourist destination for short breaks and experiences and supporting and developing the City of Film brand which has been highly successful in attracting TV programme and film makers.

Ms Greenwood said: “We know the National Science+Media Museum is a major national draw and we’ve seen just how successful City park has been at bringing in the crowds.

“What we’d like to do is persuade the people who come for attractions such as these to just stay a little longer and spend some time shopping and seeking out other fabulous parts of the city such as Little Germany – and then go and tell their friends what a great time they had!”

The BID would work alongside other organisers to supplement the events in City Park, ensuring that footfall is spread across the city centre, and encourage would-be investors to realise the potential within the city centre as a whole.

The Promoted group also felt that a key strand of the BID’s efforts should be encouraging greater lobbying, representation and championing of the city.

Bradford-born celebrities would be encouraged to help endorse and promote the city’s brand and the BID would seek to create support from other northern cities, especially in the Leeds City Region, and their representatives.

There are almost 300 Business Improvement Districts around the country and many have been successful in bringing in fresh investment, so Bradford’s BID team will lobby bodies such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and collaborate with the city’s MPs to encourage greater financial resources to be brought to bear on the area from Government and other organisations.

Ms Greenwood said the group would also be striving to work more with tourism partnerships, such as Visit England and Visit Britain to promote the city and its attractions on a national and international scale.

She said: “It’s really important to work with established organisations and others to ensure that there is a consistent message going out to promote Bradford to a local, regional, national and international audience.”

The BID will also carry out research to identify audiences and monitor the impact of campaigns and work with partners such as Metro and Northern to widen the city’s regional audience.

Other initiatives will include some of the many people from outside the city who visit shows and concerts to stay overnight and explore the city, increasing Bradford’s marketing presence in London and working with major players, such as shopping centres, to co-ordinate more effective advertising and promotion of the city’s retail offer.