Extra cash approved for Sunderland BID to help improve city centre

Council bosses have agreed to provide financial backing to Sunderland’s Business Improvement District (BID) over the next five years.

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 4:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 4:28 pm

The BID represents hundreds of city businesses, with levy payers generating funds to channel into events, promotions and improvements.

In a ballot last year, more than 51% of businesses took part, with 72.7% of votes cast supporting the bid for another five year term.

This brings ring-fenced investment of around £3million into Sunderland to deal with priorities established by the business community.

This week, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet rubber-stamped plans for a new operating agreement with the BID to March 31, 2024.

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As part of the refresh, the council will provide a total of £200,000 to the BID to support independent businesses – with £40,000 provided each year.

City leaders state the work of the BID will be supplemented by the extra £300,000 revenue for 2019/20 to improve cleanliness across the city centre.

This covers enhanced cleansing, grounds maintenance, environmental enforcement and increased supervision.

Cabinet member for Environment and Transport on the council, Coun Amy Wilson, welcomed the extra support for the BID.

She said: “I’m so happy that the BID are working with us with regard to cleanliness of the city centre because otherwise it wouldn’t work.

“It’s no good going and tidying up if the businesses aren’t involved in it.”

Cabinet member for Communities and Culture, Coun John Kelly, added the funds would ensure a “clear focus running through the BID work in engaging and supporting businesses.”

The BID’s plans for the next five years include a new food and drink festival, continuing and improving the Christmas events programme and building on its existing Street Ranger scheme.

A council report adds: “The economic regeneration of the city centre is a key element of the city plan and it is important for the council to engage proactively with the BID and support the BID in its work to maximise what can be achieved during the second term.”

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service