Hull Business Improvement District has received resounding endorsements from its constituency MP and police and crime commissioner as it sets out its stall for a further five-year term.
Emma Hardy and Jonathan Evison brought cross-party support for the organisation that helps keep city centre streets clean and safe and aims to improve footfall with events and activities while providing member support.
It was revealed more funding has been committed to aid it, while Ms Hardy said “if it did not exist it would be necessary to invent it!”
Hull secured the first business improvement district in Yorkshire in 2006, with current executive director, Kathryn Shillito, appointed in 2010. She leads a team of five staff with support from a board of 12, with 10 drawn from the business community.
To win the ballot – which closes on September 23 – and continue beyond October 31, HullBID must secure the majority of votes from the 840 businesses and other organisations which form its membership, with the backing having to represent the majority of the rateable value of all concerned also.
They are being asked to continue a commitment to pay the equivalent of one per cent of their rateable values to fund a programme, set by the board, of ongoing improvements to safety and security, cleanliness, communication and the general business environment.
Since HullBID was established, others have been set up in Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds, Ripon, Sheffield, Wakefield and York.
Speaking at a dinner at The Deep aquarium to launch the ballot campaign, Ms Hardy said: “Hull was leading the way in Yorkshire and since then other cities and towns have followed that. They have seen the benefits from HullBID and have been keen to emulate those.”
Ms Hardy told business and civic leaders it has played a key role during the pandemic in terms of helping businesses to secure grants and advice on returning to work and reopening safely. Hull’s was the only BID in the country to give members a 25 per cent levy discount too.
Commending the work, she said: “It would be premature to assume there will be no more twists in the Covid tale and we need to be thinking as a city and as a collective about how we adapt and about the opportunities.
“Having an attractive and thriving city centre will be central to any offer – an attractive place to live in, work and visit. If HullBID didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent it. How fortunate we are then to have had it in place for the last 15 years.
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“Partnership is vital to meeting challenges and in 2006 BID became the answer. It is the model of an independent, not-for-profit organisation working together to identify and deliver positive actions for the area.”
Mr Evison, who represents the public across all of Humberside as Police and Crime Commissioner, told of his fond memories of travelling to Hull on the Humber ferries to visit Dinsdales joke shop, the bustling Whitefriargate and Old Town and to admire the statues of Queen Victoria and King Billy.
He said: “I am very much aware that crime is associated with deprivation and the way we can make people’s lives better is to reduce that deprivation. Having a vibrant city which is actively trying to get investment into Hull means better-paid jobs which will lift people out of deprivation.
“HullBID makes the centre much more attractive. It hasn’t got the graffiti you see in other places. The doorways are clean and there are always things going on. BID is a brilliant advocate for the businesses and, particularly through the Covid period, has gone the extra mile to help businesses with the problems they were encountering.
“I have already promised funds to help BID maintain its work and to bring in a new event. Please vote for BID. It would be a disaster if it didn’t continue.”
Jim Harris, chair of HullBID and centre manager of St Stephen’s Shopping Centre, added: “Keeping HullBID is not a given. It’s been here since 2006 but it won’t be here any longer without your help. This is a heartfelt message because we all love HullBID and we all know the great work it does and if we didn’t have HullBID what would we do?”
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