City council set to back bid to raise millions for a better city

Businesses in Norwich will go to the polls next month to vote on a new initiative which supporters say could breathe new life into the city.

And city council leaders are next week set to agree the authority will vote yes for the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) scheme.

The BID idea was first mooted last summer and would follow places such as Lincoln, Bedford and Ipswich.

Businesses would contribute an amount based on their rateable value. That money could be used to make improvements to the city centre, attracting more shoppers and tourists, with the businesses deciding how to spend it.

A BID has to get at least 50pc of votes cast and rateable value of votes cast – which protects the interests of both small and large organisations – with the poll next month.

The cabinet of the city council, which has a vote as a business rate payer, is expected to next Wednesday signal it will vote yes in the poll.

A report which will go before the ruling Labour cabinet states: 'The draft business plan includes developing innovative campaigns and ideas to put Norwich front-of-mind as a destination for visitors, tourists and businesses across the UK and beyond.

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'The plan also enables local businesses to respond with one strong voice to projects and initiatives designed to give Norwich a competitive edge, secure investment and promote it as an attractive commercial destination.

'In both cases this will help meet the council's corporate priority to make Norwich a prosperous city.'

Stefan Gurney, city centre manager, who has led the BID proposals, has previously said: 'A 'yes' vote for the BID has the potential to result in a greener, cleaner and safer city, raising the profile of Norwich across the UK and ensuring that it is accessible with a strong infrastructure – solutions to issues we know Norwich businesses face.'

Do you have a business story? Call business editor Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email