Cardiff businesses BID for influence and change

Capital is one of last cities in UK not to have a Business Improvement District

27 April 2016

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Cardiff is one of the last cities in the UK not to have a Business Improvement District -BID (Swansea has just voted to keep its BID for another five years), but now businesses in the city centre are to decide whether this should change when they vote by ballot in June 2016, for or against.

If they deliver a ‘Yes’ vote (more than 50% needed) then the democratically elected, not-for-profit, independent company controlled by the businesses that fund it, would have a five year period in which to invest funds raised, manage the BID area and improve the city centre and trading environment. It would allow all business sectors - office, retail, leisure, entertainment and culture - to work with the public sector and have a greater say in making change happen.                                                                                                                  

Jeremy Symons, Director at Cooke & Arkwright who sat on the BID committee for Newport comments, “The proposal for a BID in Newport was discussed at some length with local traders before being decided upon by a vote. The vote approved the BID’s creation of ‘Now Newport’ and since then, its conception has created a number of initiatives to improve the retailing experience within Newport city centre. I believe a similar arrangement in Cardiff will have an equally positive impact.”

Extensive consultation has shown that businesses in Cardiff would want the BID to deliver on a wide range of factors affecting the city, its inhabitants, visitors and traders. They want it to:

  • Focus on encouraging people to visit more often, stay longer and invest more in the city centre
  • Provide cleaner, safer streets – including around major events
  • Provide a ‘softer’, safer environment through more attractive displays
  • Provide more focused and frequent street entertainment
  • Provide more support for existing events and establishment of new events, as well as a world-class Christmas season
  • Provide better publication of events
  • Provide more support for independent businesses, which add to the character, charm and diversity of the city
  • Forge closer links between business and universities to encourage students to stay once qualified
  • Establish a strong and viable evening economy
  • Make it easier to navigate around the city
  • Seek national recognition
  • Communicate progress
  • Influence and inform decisions
  • Undertake independent research to support key decisions
  • Lobby the council and regional agencies
  • And negotiate discounts on business costs.

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group