“The BID movement is a great example of localism in action” says NWEC CEO

Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive of New West End Company the Central London BID representing businesses in Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street says:

The BID movement is a great example of localism in action, now a central part of government policy. As BIDs develop into their second and even third terms their relevance as agents of change and improvement at the very local level continues to grow, action which is particularly needed given the poor state of many of the UK’s high streets.

This was in response to a report published in October which looked at UK BIDs.

In a press release the New West End Company one of the sponsors of the report called on landowners to contribute to BIDs.

Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, Chairman of New West End Company said:

It is now time for property owners to be formally included into the BID process if they are to be true partners in these private led regeneration partnerships in the UK. The Localism Bill currently before Parliament offers an opportunity to deliver this and ensures the sustainability and economic prosperity of our towns and cities in these challenging times. Regeneration is critical for Britain future success.

The report also warned that BIDs need to engage with residents more closely as the Localism Act will, in the report authors’ opinion, push power towards residents, a view disputed by many civic societies.

there remains a need for
some action to improve the links between the local business
community and both residents and local enterprise partnerships
due to the increased power being given to the residents in the
new Localism Bill and the key role likely to be played by the Local
Enterprise Partnerships in helping to set the economic priorities
for local areas. Furthermore, there is a necessity to form clear
linkages between local policing, neighbourhood plans and the
local business community given the BID responsibilities for the
delivery of some of these critical local services. (p43)

One of the key findings listed is:

BIDs are perfectly placed to respond to localism as they
are designed at the neighbourhood scale, but they could
be threatened by business rate changes, competing
Neighbourhood Forum priorities and local community
veto’s of business development plans for the BID area. (p45)

Meanwhile, this afternoon, the much awaited — and amended — Localism Bill received Royal Assent:

Nigel Hewitson, partner, Norton Rose LLP made a cautionary comment:

In doing away with Regional Strategies and adding a neighbourhood plan-making layer, the Localism Act has the potential to lead to far-reaching changes to the planning system. But Neighbourhood Development Plans and Orders will be costly to produce and consult on and will have to achieve more than 50% support in a referendum. Even if plans overcome these obstacles, it is a moot point how big a change of policy could be effected, given that the neighbourhood plan must be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the existing development plan. It remains to be seen how many neighbourhoods will have the appetite – or the wherewithal – to jump through the all the hoops to put Plans and Orders in place.” — http://planningblog.planningresource.co.uk/2011/11/15/localism-act-live-blog/

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About no2bids

A critical look at Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and worldwide. Public and private space.
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