Decision time for Wandsworth Town and Putney Business Improvement Districts

Published: 31 October 2016

Local businesses in Putney and Wandsworth Town centres will begin voting next week on whether to form new Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) which would raise money to enhance the local business environment and boost trade.

Businesses have worked together to develop detailed business plans for the BID areas and firms with a rateable value of at least £10,000 will be asked to vote on whether or not to put them into action.

The legally-binding ballot opens 4 November and closes 1 December. The result will be announced the following day.

If voted through, BID companies and boards would be formed to deliver the business plans and to take the lead in identifying and responding to local issues. The move would help each town centre become more self sufficient, more competitive and able to adapt to changing retail patterns.

The BIDs would be funded and led by the businesses within the defined areas. The size of each contribution is determined by the property's rateable value, so small firms pay less and some are exempt.

The Wandsworth Town BID would raise in excess of £1m over five years and would focus on:

  • Building the town’s identity and distinctiveness
  • Raising awareness of what the town has on offer, including an online presence and full events calendar
  • Enhancing the town centre experience for shoppers, visitors and workers
  • Creating stronger connections between businesses and the local communities
  • Representing business needs with a stronger, shared voice

The Putney BID could bring in around £1.4m over the next five years and would aim to:

  • Enhance the town centre’s reputation as a welcoming and accessible place to shop, visit and work
  • Create a safer and cleaner town centre
  • Bring Putney businesses together to help reduce costs and act as an effective lobbying body

Wandsworth Council business spokesperson Kim Caddy explains more: “There are currently around 50 BIDs in London and the number is growing. They give business communities a strong voice and focus on tackling the core issues affecting local trade in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable.

“The business plans for Putney and Wandsworth Town include very positive proposals, identified by the businesses themselves, like town centre marketing campaigns and investing in additional street cleaning and measures to address parking and crime. These initiatives would all be in addition to the existing public services provided by the council, police and other local partners.

“I hope both town centres will embrace these ambitious plans.”

Business Improvement Districts are an established approach to town centre management. Operating across the UK for over a decade, there are now approximately 250 BIDs established around the country, with great success in places such as Wimbledon and Kingston.

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