Belfast businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of turning the city centre into a Business Improvement District (BID).
Transforming the city centre into a BID will deliver more than £5 million pounds of additional investment over the next five years. In the last decade more than 200 BIDs have been established across the UK.
A vote conducted by the Electoral Reform Services this month showed that 84 per cent of city centre businesses were in favour of making Belfast a BID.
The result gives the go-ahead for the change and will allow locally run city centre businesses a greater say in how Belfast is marketed, maintained and managed.
Clare Maguire, Manager of the Belfast One BID said: “For the last year businesses have been working incredibly hard to make sure that the BID proposal demonstrated the things we needed to do to ensure that Belfast City Centre remains competitive for the future .
‘On behalf of the Belfast One BID Task Group, I would like to thank all City Centre businesses and stakeholders in the city for their support throughout this process and for backing the BID.
‘Our focus now is very clearly on putting all the arrangements in place for the start of the BID company and on delivering the Business Plan proposal, which they have helped design.”
Chris Suitor, Chair of the Belfast One BID Task Group said: “This is a strong vote of confidence from the businesses who trade here and who clearly see the city’s potential for change.
‘The investment from local businesses will be used to improve our area, contribute towards a more successful and profitable future, making the city centre a better place for customers and businesses alike”.
The confidential, postal BID Ballot was run for 42 days in September and October. Organised by the independent Electoral Reform Services (ERS), the BID ballot papers were sent out to eligible voters in the City Centre BID area.
Detailed figures for the vote were as follows:
Yes by Number: 84%
Yes by Rateable Value: 88%
A majority in terms of votes cast and rateable value is legally required for a BID to be voted in.