Leeds businesses ‘must unite in one voice to drive city forward’

Projects like the under-construction Victoria Gate development are jewels in Leeds's ever-expanding business crown.
Projects like the under-construction Victoria Gate development are jewels in Leeds's ever-expanding business crown.
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BUSINESSES in Leeds city centre are being urged to unite in one voice to help push the city forward on a global scale.

More than 1,000 firms are being balloted on the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID).

If given the go ahead, it is hoped the scheme will be instrumental in driving the city centre forward on a global scale by uniting the business community in one co-ordinated voice. It would also generate up to £10m to invest in the city over the next five years.

A Business Improvement District is a business-led partnership which enables coordinated investment in the management and marketing of a commercial area. BID4Leeds is the not-for- profit company set up to establish and run the Leeds BID.

A copy of the business plan outlining what the Leeds BID would do, followed by ballot papers, will be sent to all organisations in the area that would be covered by the BID by January 29.

They will then have a month to respond.

If voted into place, the BID would come into existence in April and would operate for five years before being presented to businesses once again for potential renewal.

John Bywater, chairman of BID4Leeds, said: “Leeds is consistently ranked as one of the top UK shopping destinations, is the most important legal centre outside London and is also one of the most prominent financial areas in the country.

“With a broad cultural heritage, Leeds is the only city outside London to have its own repertory theatre, as well as being home to Opera North, Northern Dance and numerous other museums and galleries,” “It is however important that we don’t rest on our laurels.

“Other towns and cities are investing in themselves and looking ahead. I am confident that Leeds can do better and the Leeds BID has an important part to play in this. I would urge local businesses to vote yes.”

Leeds City Council executive member for transport and the economy councillor Richard Lewis added; “Creating a Business Improvement District will create a step change in the ability of Leeds to improve and promote its city centre as a leading European business location, a top UK retail destination, and a source of new jobs and economic growth.

Major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle all have BIDs.