St Albans BID starts campaign for renewal

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre.

St Albans BID represents businesses in the city centre. - Credit: Archant

The future of St Albans BID is up for a public vote to decide whether it is given a second five-year term.

In October, city centre businesses will have their chance to decide whether the BID (Business Improvement District) continues to represent their interests going forwards.

Established in 2017, the BID is funded by a levy paid by businesses within its designated area, including independent and chain retailers, pubs, hotels, restaurants, professional service firms, theatres, museums and the Cathedral. Other funding comes from grants, sponsorship and associated membership.

As part of the renewal process, the BID management are beginning a consultation with levy payers to ensure that all voices and opinions are heard and contribute to their proposed business plan for the next five years, which aims to support them through the pandemic and help them thrive afterwards.

Vanessa Sharp, BID business liaison manager said: “We will be in touch over the next few weeks asking for businesses’ invaluable input and feedback on the work the BID has been doing over the past five years, as well as priorities for the next five years.”

The BID's achievements over its inaugural term include securing Christmas lights for the city centre, representing businesses at council level, communicating with the local community about takeaway and delivery options during lockdown, and even installing a bench outside the museum called for by elderly residents as a resting point.

Other successes include the flower displays installed throughout the city, pre-pandemic events like George Street Gin and Jazz, a Sky TV advertising campaign promoting the city, waste management discounts for levy payers, and the deployment of BID rangers.

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It has also been involved in the St Albans Vision Neighbourhood Plan, city centre trails, lobbying the government on behalf of St Albans businesses, the Shop Safely St Albans campaign, installing welcome signage at the city station, and promoting the city centre nationally, including an all-day focus on the city and its retailers on the BBC News channel.

Co-vice chair Sarah Gillow, owner of Galio jewellers, said: “The BID is there to help us, the local business owners, to navigate through the good times and bad times, and we need this extra help now more than ever.

"It has certainly been an invaluable support to us all through these unprecedented times when we have faced a crisis and needed to pull together as one community. Hopefully over the next five years the BID function will return to being primarily a marketing and strategic resource for the city centre businesses, helping to put St Albans on the map as a destination and ensuring that local businesses have everything they need to maximise all the opportunities the future will bring.”

Cllr Mandy McNeil, portfolio holder for business and a BID board director, said: “Our local businesses have faced the most challenging of circumstances and, together with other stakeholders, the BID has an integral role to play in our city's economic recovery and regeneration.

"Our BID businesses have invested a lot in our city centre and their continued investment via a successful BID renewal, will help St Albans to remain vibrant, with lots going on, for the benefit of those who live, work and visit our city centre. The work that the BID does to market and promote St Albans as a premier destination will help to bring back much needed visitor footfall."

Bid manager Denise Parsons added: "St Albans is a beautiful, unique, historic city with so much to offer and we are so lucky that all who live and work in this city are passionate about it. We will be in touch with levy payers soon but in the meantime if there's anything you'd like to talk to us about now please email to get in touch, and please make sure when the time comes you vote for us to stay and continue working on your behalf.”