BRADFORD'S fledging Business Improvement District will take a crucial step forward this week when it appoints its first board of directors.

After almost two years of work, culminating in a ballot which saw nearly 80 per cent of participating city centre businesses voting in favour, the BID will hold its inaugural meeting to agree who will take responsibility for running it.

Chris Gregory, of consultants Heartflood, who have been guiding business leaders in the set-up process, said: "This is the moment when the BID becomes a reality and the company can get the job of delivering on the promises of the BID campaign underway."

All city centre businesses have been invited to put forward a representative to sit on the unpaid, voluntary operating board to create a representative, business-led group to oversee the financial, managerial and operational activities of the BID.

Most of the board will be drawn from private-sector organisations and the chairman will always be a private-sector member, to ensure that the BID retains its strong business focus.

Around 18-20 people will be elected at the meeting on Wednesday, November 14.

Mr Gregory said: "These are really important positions because the board will be responsible for not only delivering the Business Plan on which the BID was voted in but also making the best possible use of the £2.5 million of levy income which the 630 or so city centre businesses will contribute over the next five years."

The BID business plan is divided into four key pillars which will receive a roughly equal proportion of the levy income: Safe, Clean, Alive and Promoted.

The BID will work on improving the cleanliness and general appearance of the city centre, help to ensure it feels safe and inviting, organise and support new attractions and events, market and promote the city to local, regional and national audiences and provide a voice for businesses to lobby for more investment and other improvements.

It will also help to negotiate more favourable terms and discounted costs on a range of business overheads such as energy, water, telecoms, insurance and waste.

Four project teams of directors will be set up to oversee delivery of the pillars.

"Their first task will be to work out which of the ideas and projects in the business plan can be delivered or commenced in the first year and to set realistic and achievable targets for the BID team," said Mr Gregory.

"The whole ethos of BIDs is that they are transparent and accountable and it's important that businesses can see where their contribution is going and what improvements are being delivered."

The task of finding a manager and project officer to run the day-to-day work of the BID has already started: applications closed last week and interviews will be carried out later this month by the newly-appointed chairman and his or her deputy.