Middlesbrough Council has outlined its support for the proposals for a town centre Business Improvement District by setting out its commitments to maintaining services over the coming years.
Businesses in Middlesbrough town centre will vote next month (May) on whether to introduce a Business Improvement District (BID)
BIDs have been successful in more than 100 towns and cities in the UK in breathing new economic and community life back into shopping and business areas.
They work by businesses in the BID area contributing a levy that is invested in delivering additional projects and services that businesses have identified would improve the area.
The Middlesbrough BID proposal would see an additional investment of at least £2.3 million being made over the next five years in projects designed to increase town centre footfall and improve business performance.
It is estimated a BID could help lever an additional £25 million into Middlesbrough’s town centre economy.
Darlington is the latest town in the UK to vote to introduce a BID when businesses voted ‘yes’ last week.
The BID process asks Middlesbrough Council to set out its commitments to service delivery levels where BID money is being invested.
The council has done this and the results are set out in agreements for:
Councillor Charlie Rooney, the Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said the agreements should reassure businesses that the Council is committed to maintaining service levels - with the levy providing clear additional benefits to what the Council normally provides.
Cllr Rooney said: “The town centre is the engine room of our economy and a showcase for what the town has to offer.
“This is why Middlesbrough Council is supporting the Business Improvement District (BID) proposal.
“We want to see a stronger partnership between the Council, public bodies and business, with all stakeholders committing to improving our town for the benefit of everyone.”
He added: “It is important to be clear that we will match the commitment that we hope businesses will make to the town through the BID with commitments of our own.
“We are putting down in black and white our commitments to maintaining service levels in the town centre so that businesses will be under no doubt that the levy will provide clear additional benefits to what the Council normally provides.”
Mark Cornish, Store Manager, M&S Middlesbrough said "The BID proposition has the full weight of M&S behind it and we will certainly be voting 'Yes' at the ballot. The customer base of Middlesbrough needs rapid growth and we need to get the message to more people as this is a great town with great people and a unique diversity of retail. We can only progress on an ever changing retail landscape if we join together and vote for the BID."
The Council's Executive will formally decide on Friday, April 13 how the Council will cast its vote in the BID ballot. It has supported the principle of a BID for the town centre for some time.