Councillors urged to give backing to city centre business improvement district

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Plans for a business improvement district in the city centre are being recommended for approval by Sheffield Council.

The proposal, in which hundreds of businesses unite to raise more than £800,000 to spend on improvement projects, is recommended to be given the go-ahead when the council’s cabinet meets next week.

The scheme would work by pooling money paid by businesses in the city centre and using it towards improvements.

James Price, managing director of John Lewis and chairman of the BID champion group, said: “The Sheffield BID is about businesses in the city centre working together to make Sheffield a better place to visit, work and live, and delivering this through close working collaboration between the public and private sector.

“I have 500 people working in John Lewis and a very loyal customer base, and everyone talks to me about the fact that they want to see an improvement in the city centre.

“They want to see more events, more cultural activities, they want to see us join up the daytime and night time economies and they want to see new cinemas, better hotels and more restaurants. The Sheffield BID is our chance to make this happen.”

The BID will go to a ballot of businesses in the new year and, if a majority approve, could involve around 1,200 companies over five years.

Business owners will pay between £300 and £15,000 to be a part of it.

If approved, Sheffield Council would agree to maintain current city centre services such as ambassadors and Christmas lights at the current level for that period.

It would also mean businesses - ranging from independent shops to large retailers, and those in the night-time economy - had an increased lobbying power.