Cheltenham BID sets out proposed £2.8m investment plans for the town

Cheltenham BID

Cheltenham Business Improvement District has launched a business plan for its second term, setting out a raft of priorities to support the more than 800 businesses and £2.8 million worth of investment in Cheltenham town centre ahead of its renewal ballot in June.

Like all BIDs across the country, Cheltenham BID is legally required to run a renewal ballot to continue for a second term. Its ballot will take place in June 2021, and businesses will be required to vote yes if they’d like to see the BID continue its work.

Cheltenham BID was formed in 2016, following the first vote by businesses and has gone on to play a high profile role in the town’s economic growth.

Using the £420,000 annual levy it currently collects from businesses, during its first five year term, the BID delivered a range of projects and services to support businesses, improve the visitor experience and give levy payers a collective voice on town issues. It also helped pioneer a number of major events and celebrations such as the town’s enhanced Christmas Lights and high profile switch-on events, Light Up Cheltenham and the Big Wheel and the ever-popular Around Town programmes that bring Cheltenham’s famous Jazz, Music, Science and Literature Festivals onto the town’s streets and into businesses.

The content of the Business Plan has been shaped by businesses in the town centre – more than 200 of which responded to the BID’s recent consultation. In addition to a continued investment in town centre events, other initiatives that businesses valued highly and said they wanted to see continue included BID in Bloom, Tidy Up Cheltenham and the BID’s collaboration with Marketing Cheltenham and the promotion of the town via Visit Cheltenham.

The Business Plan for the 2021-26 period also includes a proposed extension to the current BID operating zone, which would see an additional 210 businesses included and benefiting directly from the BID’s activity and support.

Alex Rose, Managing Director of Beards the jewellers and Chairman of Cheltenham BID, said: “Following our consultation with businesses earlier this year, the overwhelmingly positive feedback highlighted just how valuable the work of the BID has been – and how important it is that this work continues as part of the town’s recovery. Building on the foundations we’ve laid in our first five years, the BID is uniquely placed to bring businesses together and seize the opportunities that lie ahead to revitalise our town centre and make a positive difference to the town as a whole.”

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID, said: “What the BID has achieved over the past five years is in no small part attributable to the support we get from BID businesses and their enthusiasm to get involved with our projects.  It’s reassuring when we get asked to deal with issues ranging from anti-social behaviour to accessing grants – it shows how much businesses in the town have come to rely on us for everything from helping them make cost savings through to getting them trading on-line during the pandemic.”

Martin Bundy, Partner and Branch Manager at John Lewis Cheltenham, said: “Having worked in several locations across the UK with local BIDs and shopping centre boards, I can’t highlight enough how strong the Cheltenham BID is by comparison. We should be really proud of the work that has been achieved during its first 5 years, and excited by the possibilities in front of us over the next term. The BID is a great symbol of how local businesses in Cheltenham want to be, working together for a mutual gain for our businesses and our community. There are numerous things that simply wouldn’t happen if it were not for the BID, and there is no time more prevalent than now to focus collectively with positivity towards what the future could be.”  

The renewal ballot runs between 3 June and 1 July 2021. If the ballot is successful, Cheltenham BID’s second term will begin on 1st August 2021.