A Warm Welcome to Business Improvement District (BID) Concept

Local businesses and public sector agencies were unanimous in their support of the concept of a Business Improvement District (BIDs) for Kirkcaldy Town Centre after hearing from 2 informative speakers at a meeting yesterday (30th April 2008). Organised by KTCM and attended by 23 people, Alastair Mitchell (Falkirk Town Centre Manager) and Ian Broadfoot (Edinburgh City Centre Manager) gave 2 highly informative presentations on their respective BIDs.

The audience was receptive to the process and ultimately the benefits to be derived from a BID in any location. The involvement of businesses throughout the process was fundamental because a BID would be led by businesses for businesses. Secondly, businesses would benefit by taking control and ownership of those issues that matter to them the most for better business prospects as well as the environment in which they work. With 1,400 BIDs in operation worldwide and 71 in the UK 3 of which are in Scotland, the BID concept is being increasingly adopted to enable town centre partnerships to make a significant impact on the trading environment. It was made abundantly clear that a BID would not be a substitute for existing Council and other public sector services but would be in addition to these services, and then only if the businesses actually vote for them.

KTCM Director Colin Brown, who chaired the meeting, said

“It was encouraging to see the positive response from the local business community who attended the meeting. The first meeting is very much the start of the process of consulting with every business in the town centre who will shortly receive a Fact Sheet on BIDS from KTCM.

I would like to encourage all business to digest what a BID is about and how it could benefit them and also to get involved – future meetings will be organised where I and the other directors would be happy to answer your questions on the concept of the Kirkcaldy BID and discuss what the BID would do.

The Kirkcaldy BID will only happen if the businesses of Kirkcaldy want it to happen and I look forward to working with local companies as we continue in our efforts to make Kirkcaldy better.”

David Chalmers, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (Fife), gave his support to the BID concept:

“The meeting was very interesting, and those people attending were supportive of the proposals. I think there is a growing realisation that, unless action is taken now or in the very near future, town centres everywhere will go into terminal decline. KTCM can certainly count on FSB Fife’s support you and I would be delighted to help in any way I can.”

Sunil Varu, Town Centre Manager, added,

“Given the positive response, we will notify Fife Council of our intention to progress and seek funding from the Scottish Government it kick start the process which both speakers emphasised, will take at least 12 months to complete”.