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Swansea BID look to renew service for fourth term

Credit: Swansea Council

A BUSINESS organisation that has helped play a critical role in seeing Swansea city centre through the Covid-19 pandemic is set to ballot its members for a fourth term next year.

Swansea’s Business Improvement District (BID),  has been an ever-present organisation supporting businesses in the city centre for the last 15 years.

Car parking promotions, rangers by day, taxi marshals by night and graffiti removal are among the many practical projects it has put in place since it started in 2006.

Now, with the current BID term of office about to come to an end, Swansea Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve the BID renewal ballot process and support its work for a further five years if another term is secured.

Swansea was the first area in Wales to operate a BID and now there are more than 250 of them around the UK supporting tens of thousands of businesses to do their bit for their local shopping area.

The Swansea BID was first established in August 2006 for an initial term of five years before a successful renewal ballot was held in March 2011 and another five years later. If the latest term is approved, BID will go on generating benefits for the city centre until 2026.

The BID generates about £465,000 every year through a levy that’s set at 1% of the rateable value of all non-domestic premises within the city centre BID area. This equates to about £2.3 million over five years that’s invested back into the city centre through agreed BID projects.

“Swansea BID has been a brilliant success story since its introduction back in 2006,” said Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism.

“Since the start of the pandemic Swansea BID has done a tremendous leadership job, supporting businesses through very tough operating times while at the same time helping them implement critically-important Covid-19 safety procedures.

“But right from its start, BID has worked closely alongside the council enabling a large number of projects that have supported our aim to regenerate the city centre, develop more vibrancy, attract more footfall, support existing businesses and attract new investment.

“If Cabinet gives the green light to the BID renewal ballot process, BID members will get the chance in May next year to vote for a fourth term for the organisation.

“If that’s successful we would be looking forward to working alongside them for a further five years helping the high street recover from the Covid crisis which will be spear headed by the regeneration of key city centres sites including the new Copr Bay area due to open in 2021.”

A BID is a private sector, not-for-profit company that’s elected by businesses or organisations to lead or fund improvements to a defined commercial area such as a town or city centre.

Swansea BID projects since the last ballot in 2016 have included car parking offers and promotions, additional night-time street cleansing and funding towards Swansea Council’s City Centre Ranger scheme. Other projects have included participation in Wales’ first  Purple Flag scheme plus Big Heart of Swansea branding, marketing, communications and events.