LEADING businesses in Chester are calling on traders to vote ‘yes’ to the formation of a Business Improvement District (BID) later this month.
If approved, the scheme would see companies pay one per cent of their rateable value into a central pot to promote the city and to boost footfall.
Those behind the CH1ChesterBID say it could generate about £2.5 million over the next five years.
With voting papers landing on the mats of 509 businesses within Chester’s proposed BID area this week, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Primark, together with The Grosvenor Shopping Centre and The Chester Grosvenor Hotel, are all backing the plan.
Kari Rodgers, Debenhams’ senior store manager, said: “The BID will generate £2.5million for all the improvements that we, as Chester businesses, have been calling for. It is our duty to vote ‘yes’ and make it happen.”
To get the green light, the ballot requires a ‘yes’ vote from at least 51 per cent of all those who vote.
‘Yes’ voters must also represent at least 51 per cent of the total rateable value of all the businesses who vote.
The potential of a successful BID campaign was also underlined by Jonathan Bradburn, manager at the Chester branch of Marks & Spencer.
He said: “As a company, Marks & Spencer has supported BIDs across the country because we recognise the potential a BID has to enhance and revitalise a city.
“Every ‘yes’ vote is vital in helping us cross the finishing line and gets us that much closer to the bustling and profitable Chester city centre we all want to see.”
Many of Chester’s small independents, along with hospitality businesses such as hotels, restaurants, bars and cafés, are also being asked to back CH1ChesterBID's plans and the improvements it claims will follow.
Jonathan Slater, managing director of Chester Grosvenor Hotel, said: “Increasing the footfall in the city and encouraging the leisure market to visit is just as vital for the hospitality businesses as for the retailers.
“No matter the size or nature of your business, voting ‘yes’ to the BID is voting for improved marketing of our city, larger events to attract a wider audience, increased visitor numbers and a more secure and profitable future, not just for the city centre but for Chester as a whole.”
Businesses will be voting throughout June and the result will be announced in early July.