Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID) has today unveiled its exciting and ambitious five-year Business Plan for Leeds city centre in front of an audience of over 300 key business representatives at the iconic City Varieties Music Hall.
The LeedsBID: The Next Chapter event saw Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive of LeedsBID, set out the organisation’s priorities for Term Two, which is due to run from 2020 to 2025, focusing on five core themes: Ambition; Curation; Animation; Collaboration; and Innovation, underpinning its work in improving and enhancing Leeds city centre for the benefit of all who use it.
The Business Plan has been developed after a consultation with LeedsBID’s levy payers regarding what the next chapter of LeedsBID should look like. There was a resounding endorsement to continue the core projects brought to the city by LeedsBID which have become familiar and recognisable in the daily landscape of the city, such as the Welcome Ambassadors and Street Rangers, as well as to continue delivering projects with direct business benefits.
The gathered audience were treated to an unexpected raucous reception from local musicians, Hyde Park Brass. Speaking at the event, Andrew Cooper revealed aspirations to grow LeedsBID, through the consideration of a waterfront Business Improvement District to the south of the river. With Leeds city centre on target to double in size over the coming years, the Southbank regeneration area is of considerable importance to the city and LeedsBID aims to act as connector and catalyst in supporting the changing needs of businesses and organisations in the area.
Also addressing the audience was keynote speaker Tina Ziegler, Director of Moniker Arts Festival, a contemporary urban art fair, with its roots in London and New York. Tina talked about why she believed Leeds had the ambition and energy to be a destination of truly international proportions and brought her unique insight on the city to the fore. She then joined a panel, alongside Professor Gary Warnaby – a Fellow at the Institute for Place Management; Jen Mitchell – General Manager at first direct arena; and Isabel Hunt – Director of Improvement at NHS Digital, to talk about the opportunities and challenges of a modern city and LeedsBID’s central role in place changing for the future.
LeedsBID Chief Executive Andrew Cooper said: “Today’s event marks the first step on our journey towards a second term for LeedsBID. Over the past five years, we’ve worked closely with our levy payers and partners to introduce a diverse range of innovative, exciting and much-needed projects and initiatives to put Leeds firmly on the map and improve the city centre.
“Those who come to the city to live, work and thrive have hopefully gained enormous pleasure and benefitted from our activity, which is only achievable through working together with businesses, organisations and individuals across the city. That is why Collaboration is a key theme for the next five-year term.
“This October, levy payers will be asked to vote to endorse and continue the work of LeedsBID for the next five years, and we believe that today has helped make the case for what can be achieved with ambition.”
Prew Lumley, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and LeedsBID Chair said: “Our levy payers have played an integral role in helping shape the past five years so it’s only right that city centre businesses are the first to engage with plans for the next five. LeedsBID’s successes to date should be celebrated, but the Term Two Business Plan really takes things to the next level. It was brilliant to see so many familiar faces in the room and engaging with helping to shape our city’s future.”
Leeds city centre has continued its transformation over recent years, with new shopping centres, independents and venues opening. Levy payers with a rateable value of £60,000 pay a small percentage to contribute to the work of LeedsBID, which helps to improve the city centre, and drive footfall. Levy payers will have the opportunity to vote on Term Two from 10th October-7th November 2019.