The Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Phil Prentice, has backed proposals to develop a Business Improvement District (BID) in Dundee at a summit on Tuesday. Leaders from the Business Improvement Districts across Scotland’s main cities gathered in Dundee to discuss the direction of BIDs across the country.
Meeting at the Malmaison Hotel, Chairs and Chief Executives from across the cities took part in a series of presentations, workshops and informal discussions to consider areas of mutual concern and opportunity. The event was hosted by Scotland’s Improvement Districts, the national centre for BIDs in Scotland.
Among the issues discussed was the need to continue to work closely with local communities and private sector organisations to bring forward innovative proposals for city centres and the future of the retail sector which has struggled over the last number of years.
At the meeting, Essential Edinburgh, the Business Improvement District for Edinburgh’s New Town was elected as Chair of the forum for the forthcoming year, taking over from Aberdeen Inspired.
Business Improvement Districts are a collaborative business improvement model whereby local businesses come together to invest in joint projects and initiatives aimed at improving the local economy and community for the benefit for all.
The return on investment is realised through more economic activity and better business outcomes. The investment, over and above that provided by local and national government, is collected through an additional levy on local business rates.
Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Programme Director of Scotland’s Improvement Districts, said:
“Improvement Districts are a crucial part of Scotland’s economic and social geography. At their heart, they are about businesses stepping up to the plate and investing in their own towns, cities and communities for the betterment of everyone. As some of the most successful in the UK, our Scottish City BIDs have demonstrated the real tangible benefits of the model with increased footfall, increased economic impact, and lower crime rates. However, we still face big challenges in terms of empty units, business rates and the continued growth of online retail, and the innovative solutions we need to find can only be achieved together.”
“Meeting in Dundee is an important boost for the case to establish an improvement district here. We’ve been working for the last 9 months with the Dundee V&A team, DD1 Business Forum and the City Council to see where a Dundee City BID could support the wider aspirations for Dundee around its universities, innovation, tourism and low carbon aspirations. The evidence shows that BIDs work elsewhere in Scotland, they can do so for Dundee.”
Speaking about the meeting, Roddy Smith, Chief Executive of Essential Edinburgh said:
“The City BIDs meeting is always a great opportunity to share ideas, good practice and learn from each others mistakes and successes. Working together and discussing areas of mutual interest enables us all to be more effective in driving forward our own business communities. Essential Edinburgh is delighted to be taking over the secretariat and Chair for the next year and continuing the work of our partners at Aberdeen Inspired.”