The London Evening Standard carried an article last week by actor and writer Griff Rhys Jones severely criticising the creation of a business improvement district in his neighbourhood of Fitzrovia near London’s West End. The BID was given the go ahead in July despite opposition from local residents.
The article, which has been the first from a high profile person to criticise business improvement districts in the London paper, takes issue with the lack of consultation with residents and small businesses. Jones writes:
I asked my barber what he thought of it. He had never heard of the BID. Neither had my optician, my newsagent, or Honey, the miniature miracle of a Lebanese café where I had lunch. Only businesses with a rateable value over £100,000 are eligible to vote.
The Guardian also published an article on about the Fitzrovia BID on its London Blog in June this year, and the West End Extra carried a story about the Camden Council possibly vetoing the BID. The Council replied saying they were not intending to use their power of veto.