“THE real hard work starts now.” That was the message from Ian Ward yesterday after Bradford businesses comprehensively voted in favour of the Bradford BID.

The Bradford Business Improvement District was approved yesterday after 79 per cent of businesses voted in favour of the BID, which represented 85 per cent of the city’s rateable value.

Ian Ward, general manager of The Broadway and chair of te BID Development Board, said he was “ecstatic” when the results were revealed, after months of canvassing and promotion.

He said: “It’s a significant yes vote, for a first ballot this is a significant number.

“The rateable value vote shows major businesses are behind Bradford and moving it forward, it’s a really good day.

“I’m ecstatic, it’s two years of hard work and pulling together and working with great people and organisations who recognised the vision I had.

“It’s a crying shame Bradford has not already got a BID to be honest, I’ve said all the way along it should have had one five years ago, but we have now delivered it.

“But, we haven’t delivered anything yet, we have just got us to a point to get a mandate to deliver the business plan and now we need to get everything in place.

“It has been hard work the whole way through, but the real hard work starts now.”

Following the vote, an operating board will need to be formed, which all businesses in the city can apply to be a part of, and the board will then look at the business plan to see what can be delivered over the coming months.

Mr Ward added: “We have four pillar; safe, clean, alive and promoted, and people will see us deliver against that plan.

“They will see us making the city centre safe and clean and then bringing events into Bradford and promoting the city centre from next year.

“We’re working on a major project called Sparkling Bradford at the moment which will be the first time Bradford has come together at Christmas, marketing and promoting the city as one going into next year.”

More than 630 businesses took part in the vote on the BID, which will raise £2.5 million in the next five years to spend on projects to boost the city centre.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, who said: “This is fantastic news for Bradford.

“I want to congratulate all the businesses involved and particularly Ian Ward who has shown great leadership on this since the beginning.

“Bradford BID can now help the city go from strength to strength. We’ve already seen a similar scheme work really well in Keighley.

“It’s great news for businesses because it means they can spend the money on the things they know will make Bradford an ever more attractive place to visit.”