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Businesses To Vote On £2m Huddersfield BID Project

Clr Peter McBride, who is leading Huddersfield's regeneration projects.

They will vote on the proposals next month.

Businesses in Huddersfield are on the cusp of creating an official Business Improvement District (BID) within the town centre.

They will vote next month on whether to charge an additional levy on top of existing business rates to create a £2.2m pot of cash to be spent on improving the area over five years.

The levy income will come from businesses within the two BID zones, which cover the sector within the ring road and the immediate surrounding areas.

Businesses will pay an extra 1.5% or 0.75% if they are within both zones.

They will vote on the proposals next month.

If there is a ‘yes’ vote the BID will run to 2024. After five years it can be extended or renewed, but only after a renewal vote.

Among the representatives on the BID board and steering group are the University of Huddersfield, Boots, the Lawrence Batley Theatre, McDonalds, the Media Centre, and the Piazza Shopping Centre as well as the Federation of Small Businesses, Huddersfield Civic Society and the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Key objectives include promoting a lively Huddersfield, creating an accessible Huddersfield and making the town a safe and attractive place to be with a great business, leisure and cultural offer.

There was strong support for the project from members of Kirklees Council’s Cabinet, the decision-making executive of the authority even though it will mean the council paying the levy over five years for its corporate buildings and any empty commercial properties within the BID zones.

BIDS were launched by the government to allow an extra levy to be charged on firms in certain areas that want to group together to finance long-term projects.

Around 270 UK places are already operating with BID status including Halifax, Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Reporting on the BID’s progress and the levy on council properties Clr Peter McBride (Lab, Dalton) said monies raised could be spent on a range of town centre improvements such as lights, markets, signage, parking, cleansing, and waste collection.

He said whatever was decided by the board would complement existing council projects “and what we intend to do further as will be rolled out next week in the masterplan”.

“In order for this to go ahead it has to be approved by a majority of all businesses across Huddersfield town centre. We are deferring income on all of our properties in order to make that contribution.”

Among the supporters of the BID was Clr Naheed Mather (Lab, Dalton), who said: “We want people to get involved in what the town centre looks like and how we can improve it. That can only be a good thing.”

Clr Rob Walker (Lab, Colne Valley) said the council was “very strongly in favour” of the BID and added: “There was strong cross-party consensus that working with business was vital to the future of Huddersfield.”

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