Mixed Reaction to Chiswick Business Improvement District Plan
Possibility of appointing town centre manager to be investigated
The recent Chiswick Area Forum meeting has resolved to investigate further the possibility of a Town Centre Manager being appointed or Chiswick High Road becoming a Business Improvement District (BID).
The councillors on the forum agreed that a report be reproduced on all options but with 'additional attention' being paid to the options for a town centre manager (TCM).
A BID is an area in which the local businesses have voted to invest collectively to improve their environment. BIDs provide additional services identified and requested by local businesses. Services could include extra safety, cleaning or environmental measures. BIDs are funded by a mandatory levy on all eligible businesses following a successful ballot. A BID manager would fulfil a role similar to a TCM.
The idea would have to be approved by both a majority of businesses in the area and the combined rateable value of businesses in favour must be greater than that of the businesses against. This aims to stop national chains forcing through a BID against the wishes of smaller independent local businesses.
Simon Johnson of Marmalade Jewellery in Turnham Green Terrace said, "Personally I think an independent BID manager with funds to achieve specific goals defined by the local businesses would achieve more in the long term but there is a cost to all local businesses for that. Either option would be greatly preferable to a slow gradual decline."
The Chiswick High Road Action Group held a meeting this September to discuss the potential benefits of a BID for the area. A number of local businesses felt a BID might be a way of addressing the issues some of the problems that the area was facing. The key reason for considering a BID would be to help preserve the uniqueness Chiswick offer with lots of small independents and protect them from the impact of Westfield.
Other local traders felt they already paid enough in business rates and felt that the creation of a business forum would be a better solution and that other available sources of funding should be explored to secure a TCM without the need for a BID. One possibility to be investigated is that Brentford and Chiswick could share a TCM.
November 29, 2013