In a new report How to Privatise the High Street, published by the Centre for Policy Studies on Thursday 30 July, Dominic Nutt urges the Government to enhance Business Improvement Districts and support locally-lead regeneration of Britain’s streets.
Business Improvements Districts (BIDs) are business-led and business-funded bodies formed to improve a defined commercial area. They allow local regeneration to be directed by local interests, while costing the taxpayer little or nothing.
In their current form however BIDs only allow business tenants to formally contribute to projects; local property owners are left out.
This is problematic, not least as tenants naturally tend to favour more short-term improvements to their local area. In contrast, property owners typically have much deeper, and consequently long-term, ties to a local area and will therefore favour longer-term redevelopments.
Property Owner BIDs have already been proven in London and Scotland. They should be rolled out across the rest of the UK in order to bring balance to future regeneration projects, ensuring that they are undertaken fully under the auspices of the local community and not just by one interested party.
Property Owner BIDs can be implemented quickly with secondary legislation, and can become a rare example of localism in practice.