Norwich business bosses welcome BID ideas

Proposals for Norwich businesses to contribute to a pot of cash which could be used to make the city centre a better place have been outlined to bosses,

As reported in the Evening News, a questionnaire was sent to more than 1,000 businesses asking them to have their say on what improvements they would like to see made to the heart of the city.

As part of that questionnaire, businesses and organisations were asked by the Norwich City Centre Partnership whether they would support the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city centre.

Businesses in that district would contribute an amount based on their rateable value – probably 1pc – which would go into a pot which could be used to make improvements.

Before a BID can get off the ground, it has to get at least 50pc support in votes cast and rateable value of votes cast – which protects the interests of both small and large organisations.

If a Norwich BID is set up, it would be up to a board, made up of business bosses, to decide how to spend the money, which could be about �600,000 a year – and even more if other funding streams can be unlocked.

About 40 businesses attended a meeting this week about the issue where Jacquie Kelly, director of the National BID Advisory Service, explained the success stories in other towns and cities, such as Rugby, Bristol, Bedford and Lincoln.

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Stefan Gurney, Norwich's city centre manager, said: 'It was a very constructive meeting and we had good feedback from businesses who felt it was a really worthwhile event.

'We were looking at some of the things which have been done nationally and whether we could look at that sort of thing in Norwich.'

Phil Cutting, landlord of The Murderers pub in Timberhill, was one of them. He said: 'I personally think anything that promotes Norwich as a city centre is great. 'The fact this will be in the hands of traders who will make the decisions makes it even better.'

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