North Leeds: Plans for £200,000 boost to suburb

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Community leaders and company bosses in Headingley are in talks over plans to make the suburb a Business Improvement District.

Headingley Development Trust and local councillors are consulting with businesses to see whether the town should follow in the footsteps of Leeds city centre, which voted overwhelmingly in favour of becoming a BID last month.

Under the scheme, businesses over a particular size would pay a levy to the council, creating a pot of money to spend on improvements such as tackling rent for shops and parking issues.

If successful, it is estimated the move could provide Headingley with a cash boost up to £200,000 over the next five years.

Martyn Thomas, of Headingley Development Trust, said: “A successful BID application would provide some funds over a five-year period which could be used to stimulate business activity in Headingley. While it would be a partnership between business and the city council I would envisage business taking the lead role.”

If the businesses are in favour, an official vote will be taken before putting an application forward to Leeds City Council. Martyn estimates that there are at least 264 eligible businesses in Headingley, which would generate a “realistic but significant” £200,000 pot.

He said early indications are that local businesses are keen to get involved. Marcus Dakka, owner of Mint 33 cafe on North Lane, said: “I think Headingley is a good place to be a small business at the moment.

“The mentality is very supportive, especially among the young professionals, and I think it will continue to thrive.”

The Leeds BID, which involves over 1,000 businesses, is expected to generate up to £10m of investment and help drive the city forward on a global scale.

It launched in Leeds on April 1.