WAKEFIELD businesses have voted to back plans for a Business Improvement District (BID), giving companies in the BID area a say in how their city centre operates.

Businesses across retail, leisure, hospitality, evening economy and commerce and representing the smallest independent to the largest multi national gave the plans a resounding thumbs up after an 18 month campaign.
Yes by Number: 63%
Yes by Rateable Value: 79%
A total of 169 businesses voted which is more than 35 per cent of all eligible with 105 voting YES and 64 voting NO.
David Owens from Wakefield Beer Exchange and chair of the BID Steering Group said that the YES vote demonstrated the power of independent businesses who had collaborated with the larger multiples to create a plan that would make the city a great place to do business and give the local economy a boost.

“This YES vote gives a stronger voice to independent businesses in the city centre who have been desperate to influence how their immediate environment is promoted and maintained,” he said.

“For so long business people in the retail, leisure, arts, culture, hospitality and evening economies have stood by frustrated that their voices have not been heard. This will give them that voice, but more significantly the chance to take action.”

“It says a lot about independent businesses in Wakefield city centre that they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is and pick up the baton to make a difference that will change the face of the whole of Wakefield and benefit everyone.

“Our plans will attract more people by making the city centre more attractive, safer and more vibrant but the benefits will ripple across the wider district. They have every reason to be proud of themselves and the business values they demonstrated,” he added.

Mr Owens added the challenge was to make those businesses who voted NO feel their voices would be heard when the business plan was rolled out.

“This is a BID for everyone and it will now work hard to benefit every business in the WF1 district whether or not they voted to support the plans,” he said.

The voting for the BID closed on Monday evening with 169 votes out of a possible 450 cast and 105 voting in favour of the plan.