BRADFORD city centre needs to build and adapt to an exciting new vision that meets the changing needs of its visitors, its customers and its local community, says the Bradford Business Improvement (BID).

The BID says that goal is deeply embedded in the Business Plan it hopes to pursue if it wins a second five-year term next month.

Developing a more Vibrant Experience for everyone who uses the city centre, encouraging more people to spend time there and supporting custom and trade, is one of three key objectives for the BID, along with creating A Positive Environment and making it Better for Business.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: BrickLive in BradfordBrickLive in Bradford (Image: BID)

James Paynter, deputy chair of Bradford BID and retail area manager of Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Town and city centres have undergone a huge sea change and they are continuing to evolve. But we know there is unlikely to be a return to streets lined purely with booming high-street chain stores with giant footprints.

“We are still identifying and developing the ideal new kind of experience that will bring in footfall and meet the needs of a new generation – but the emphasis is moving from a predominantly retail offer to one that also combines more leisure and entertainment along with new experiences.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Dino Day in BradfordDino Day in Bradford (Image: BID)

“We aim to organise and support exciting events and activities which draw people in and help build and showcase a wide, diverse and multi-layered cultural offering, including street entertainment, public art and arts trails, major events and festivals, street dressing and celebrations targeted at specific economic sectors.”

The BID’s first term as a limited not-for-profit company funded by a small levy on businesses and organisations will end later this year and it hopes a ballot launched on August 31 will secure its future to the end of 2028, allowing it to raise £2.5 million to spend on improvement schemes.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: More events like food and drink festivals are plannedMore events like food and drink festivals are planned (Image: BID)

The Vibrant Experience strategies outlined in the plan include:

  • 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.
  • Providing recognition of the city as a destination for a safe night out via Purple Flag accreditation.
  • Organising social media campaigning to ensure the public are aware of activities taking place in the city centre.
  • Creating marketing and promotion around city centre activities and events, focusing on evening and night-time businesses.
  • Continuing to develop a dedicated support function for the evening and night-time economy, delivering accreditation schemes and bespoke training for staff.

Why we’re voting YES for the BID

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Daniel Boulger and Asma BibiDaniel Boulger and Asma Bibi (Image: BID)

Daniel Boulger, of NEC Group (Bradford Live), above left, said: We’ve seen a positive outcome from each project the BID has undertaken in their first term and they’ve certainly delivered on their first business plan objectives to help the city centre become cleaner, safer, more alive and better promoted.

"As we approach Bradford Live’s launch, we look forward to working together with the BID for the rest of this year – and into their second term – to keep bringing more people into the city centre and improving the night-time economy especially.

"The BID’s Bradford at Night project has been integral in this.

Asma Bibi, sales manager at the Great Victoria Hotel (above right), said: It’s good to know there are people trying to make a difference and supporting businesses and that’s exactly what the BID does.

"The City Centre Gift Card has put money back into the local economy and our guests even buy them to tip staff! The major events the BID has put on – such as the Super Soapbox Challenge and the Fireworks Display – are also part of our planning and we see increased bookings and food and drink sales at these times. We have taken advantage of BID training courses and their brilliant networking events keep everyone up to date and bring businesses together.

"And the BID has made the city centre cleaner and more attractive to visitors. We will definitely be supporting the BID for the new term."

The BID's new ballot timetable

Legally, all BIDs need to be established via a ballot of eligible business and the vote is conducted entirely by post over a 28-day period. The votes will be sent to either the tenant of the business or the landlord (in the case of vacant units), within the BID boundary and Civica Election Services will be carrying out the voting process.
The key dates are:
• August 31 – ballot papers issued
• September 28 – Ballot Day, the last day by which votes must be received
• September 29 – Results announced

For the BID proposal to be successful, there are two requirements which must be met: A majority of those who vote must have voted in favour; and The total rateable values of the business properties who vote Yes must exceed that of those who voted No.