Town Centres and Local High Streets
Scotland's town centres and local high streets are a source of business, services, employment, residential and leisure activity for their local populations, acting as the hearts of their local communities. They are a key contributor to the national economy, supporting achievement of the Government's purpose of supporting sustainable economic growth across the whole of Scotland for the benefit of all.
To be vital and sustainable, towns and businesses need to be able to respond to local needs and changing circumstances in order to be competitive and attractive centres.
A BID is a sustainable financial model that allows local businesses to invest collectively in improvements to their business environment that will make a positive difference. A BID allows businesses to be fully involved in the development of their town and helps to improve the competitiveness of their businesses and that of the town centre.
Often a partnership with statutory authorities, a BID helps to give the town direction and a clear indication of the ambitions of the local private and public sectors to outside private sector investors. A BID can also provide local on site management to deliver the projects and servcies identified by the local businesses.
A BID resolves local issues and concerns locally, with local accountability and responsibility, with the businesses directing the BID management.
In Scotland their are now 9 BID towns, Alloa, Bathgate, Clarkston, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Elgin, Falkirk, Inverness and Kirkcaldy with the businesses colllectively investing over £1.7 million and local authorities investing a further half a million pounds. Additional funding is also being secured from other funding streams, the recent Town Centre Regeneration Fund (see Enterprising Bathgate), local authority funding and revenue funding, although revenue funding needs further development.
A further 9 towns are developing a BID, Aberdeen, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Milngavie, Peebles, Penicuik, South Queensferry, Inverness Tourism and Oban with further interest being registered from towns across the country.
In these challenging economic times it is the activity in Scotland's town centres that will be the first indication of recovery, providing sustainable reassurance that local economies are once again witnessing positive signs of growth.
For further information on how a BID can help your town please contact Ian Davison Porter Project Director BIDs Scotland.
"beating hearts of our local communities, our Town Centres." (John Swinney, 2008 Scotland's Towns Conference)