Southport’s Business Improvement District (BID) has launched a manifesto that it hopes will enable the continuation and development of its work to bring investment into the town, deliver an exciting events programme and provide a voice for the business community.
BIDS have become an essential part of some of the most successful towns and cities around the UK, each operating on the basis of a five-year term. This would be the second term for Southport’s BID, which if agreed, would run from 2019 to 2024. As one of the largest in the country with 950 current members, the levy businesses contribute would bring around £2million across the five year term to be invested directly into the town, in addition to the investment that the BID would proactively attract into Southport.
With a board made up of local independent businesses and on-going consultation with levy-payers, the direction of the BID is always in line with what is important to the retailers, restaurateurs, attractions and accommodation providers of Southport.
Rob Uffendell, Chair of Southport BID, says, “We know that increasing footfall and expenditure is key to the businesses that we represent, that the creation of business opportunities is critical, as is securing investment opportunities for the town. The way that we will achieve success in these areas is through strong collaboration and partnership work, vibrant and colourful plans for our events programme and an ambitious belief in the inward investment that we can achieve.”
The launch of its manifesto also gives the opportunity to highlight some of the major achievements made since 2014, all of which have laid foundations for the coming years. These include over £250,000 investment as the sole funders of Southport’s Christmas (and all year round!) lights, funding Lord Street’s famous floral displays, and the launch of a Southport Independents Marketing Campaign, which gave vital exposure to the town’s incredible small businesses.
The BID has also worked closely with core local organisations as the voice for Southport’s businesses, including Sefton Council, Merseyside Police and Marketing Southport. Accomplishments have included the BID’s work to secure £2million from the Coast Community Fund in conjunction with Sefton Council and its on-going leadership role in a National Lottery Heritage Fund bid that focuses upon the historic properties between Lord Street and the Promenade and aims to complement the restoration of King’s Gardens. It is also currently working on plans to submit an application to the Government’s recently launch High Street improvement fund.
The vibrancy of Southport and the events that take place to add to the core season is one of the ways that the BID works for the whole of the town. These include putting on major Christmas events, such as the ice rink and switch on alongside the annual Halloween Festival. The BID also funds other big drivers to the town, such as the annual Southport Festival taking place next month. The plans for 2019 to 2024 include even more emphasis on marketing the creation of exciting new events in the town, promoting the nighttime economy and investment into ongoing regeneration to make Southport and even better place to be.
Hugh Evans, Chief Executive of Southport BID, says, “We came into operation during a challenging time for towns and cities up and down the country, and it’s an environment that’s remained ever-changing. Against this background we’ve seen the role of the BID grow in importance within Southport as a positive force for marketing, events and town centre improvements and resources, as well as attracting and securing vital inward investment. As a voice for businesses we’ve also been able to provide powerful private sector representation to protect the interests of our members.
“Our achievements are already considerable, and a second five year term would give us the chance to build on these, ensuring a thriving Southport for years to come. BIDS are a model that bring collaboration, co-operation and representation, all of which are core to the success of any town today.”