Voting is taking place until the end of the July in Stirchley, Cotteridge, Kings Norton and Bournville in Birmingham to decide if a business improvement district (BID) should be created.
Some local businesses and residents are organising against the BID. Chris Tomlinson of the Birmingham Bike Foundry — a worker co-operative in Stirchley in the proposed BID area — has written explaining his opposition in local news site Slaney Street.
Loaf, a food-based social enterprise, is also opposing the BID:
We believe that our high streets are public spaces and should remain so, particularly when they are located in residential neighbourhoods. A BID is a step in the direction of privatisation of our high streets. A BID subtly suggests that the businesses in the area have ownership over it, and can decide what improvements and changes they would like to make and have the right to carry those out. In our opinion a BID puts too much power in the hands of the businesses (and the company formed by the BID to manage changes), and takes that power away from residents and other high street users.
For these reasons Loaf will be voting No in the Lifford BID vote, and I hope our customers will support us in this decision.
The Lifford BID would impose a 2 percent levy with a minimum bill of £200 per year and a maximum bill of £10,000 per year, collected by Birmingham City Council.
Businesses have until 5pm on July 30 to return their postal ballots and the result will be announced the following day. If businesses vote in favour of the BID, it will begin trading as a new social enterprise company on October 1, 2015, reports the Birmingham Post.