TOWN centre firms have given the green light to a £2.5m scheme to bring more business to the heart of Solihull.
Companies had been balloted on the introduction of the Business Improvement District (BID), and 75 per cent of those who voted, backed the scheme.
The result was announced by Mark Rogers, chief executive of Solihull Council, on Monday evening.
Sandy Gianni, BID Project manager, said she was ‘delighted,’ and work would now begin to set up the company.
“It’s now a case of getting the BID started, and we want to get all the businesses on board.
“It will be funded by a levy and it’s compulsory, so we’re keen to involve everyone, and make sure they’re getting something out of it.”
In total, 135 businesses voted – out of the 450 which fall within the BID area.
Although this was a small percentage of those eligible, it was described as a fairly “typical” turn-out.
Sue Yates, chairman of the pre-BID board, said that shoppers and businesses would start to see changes in a few months time.
“One of the things we’ll be looking at, is making it easier for people visiting Solihull.
“There’s still people who come and ask ‘where’s Touchwood, where’s Marks and Spencers,’ and there will be people on hand to point them in the right direction.”
Money will also be spent on improving security, and facilities, around the town centre.
The pre-BID board had gathered at the Ramada Hotel to hear the result announced. Coun Kate Wild (Con, St Alphege) was among those in attendance
“The first thing I want to say is how hard the board have worked. I think this will be a very positive thing for the town centre, and look forward to seeing what improvement it brings in the future.”
* For a more detailed look at what the BID is all about, turn to Business Times on page 63. Details are also available at www.solihullbid.co.uk.