This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.
Street begging, rough sleeping, anti-social behaviour and a lack of parking top a list of concerns among Cathedral Quarter businesses – and £1.5m could soon be available to tackle the issues.
Feedback from businesses has been used to create a new plan for the area.
Subject to a successful vote, the plan – under a new BID (business improvement district) programme – will start on March 1, 2018.
The five-year programme would have a £1.5 million budget, made available through levy-paying businesses and contributions from the voluntary, private and public sectors.
The levy will only go ahead if a majority vote in favour of the BID scheme being renewed for a second time since it was introduced in 2007. Those in favour also have to represent more than 50% of the combined "rateable values" of those who vote.
Representatives from a wide range of businesses gathered at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery last week for the official launch of the BID business plan 2018 – 2023.
Feedback from surveys and interviews carried out across a range of businesses from the Cathedral Quarter was used to put the plan together.
The research identified street begging, rough sleeping, drink and/or drug-fuelled anti-social behaviour and a lack of parking as the area’s biggest problems.
Two-thirds of respondents also complained about the current cost of parking.
In response, members of the area’s BID steering group – which oversees the BID scheme’s activities – have come up with a 13 prioritises that will be addressed if the BID programme is renewed.
The priorities are:
1) Tackling begging, anti-social behaviour and crime issues through the continuation of the Ranger scheme, funding additional police presence in the area, establishing crime reduction schemes and lobbying to improve CCTV coverage and live monitoring;
2) Improving parking in the area and public transport access to and from the Cathedral Quarter;
3) Further development and support of events to encourage more people to visit and stay in the area;
4) Investing further in Christmas lights, entertainment and promotions;
5) Improving the appearance of the streets and open spaces through creative lighting, public art and floral displays and providing additional hotspot street cleaning where required;
6) Further developing marketing and promotional campaigns including social media and a new website which would appeal to a broader range of customers and visitors;
7) Update the area’s loyalty scheme;
8) Encourage more inter-trading between Cathedral Quarter businesses;
9) Design specific campaigns and events for the different sectors operating within the Cathedral Quarter;
10) Capitalise on the opportunities of more people living in and around the area;
11) Working with partners to improve the appearance and marketability of derelict sites and vacant properties and to encourage the right kind of businesses into the area;
12) Provide information and data to businesses to support them in their own growth and development;
13) Seek match funding, grants and sponsorship to enhance the project and activities already planned.
The steering group is chaired by Martin Langsdale, a chartered surveyor at Raybould & Sons.
He urged fellow Cathedral Quarter businesses to support the proposals and ensure that the positive work continued in the Cathedral Quarter.
Mr Langsdale said: “It has taken ten years of hard work by everyone in the Cathedral Quarter to create a successful brand and to ensure the successful delivery of a business-led programme of activity.
“By working together, we have addressed the challenges faced by businesses head-on and turned around the fortunes of this area.
“Through it all, the Cathedral Quarter has developed into a quality lifestyle destination – outperforming regional and national trends and culminating in the BID’s success in being named both ATCM National BID of the Year and best city location in the Great British High Street Awards in 2016.
“Some may think that, with these accolades under our belt, it is job done and that the momentum would continue under its own steam. I truly believe that this would not be the case.
“If we didn’t have a BID a huge amount of activity that businesses really value will simply stop and we will lose the collective voice that needs to be heard moving forward.”
Levy paying businesses will have the opportunity to vote for the proposals when ballot papers are issued on October 4.
Voting will close on November 2, with the decision announced the following day. Subject to a successful vote, the new BID will start on March 1, 2018.
In those circumstances, a levy of 2% of rateable value will apply for businesses with a rateable value of £6,000 and above in the first year, whilst those with a rateable value of between £2,000 and £5,999 will pay a fixed amount of £105.
Businesses with a rateable value of less than £2,000 will be exempt from the levy but will be offered the opportunity to be a part of the BID on a voluntary basis subject to a “small” charge.