Belfast Telegraph

McCausland announces plans for support to kick start Business Improvement Districts

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Social Development

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced the appointment of external support to help revitalise town centres across Northern Ireland.

The Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) scheme allows traders and business owners across Northern Ireland to work with their local council to look at improvements their area may need. They then develop a plan of improvements which is costed and then put to a vote. If the vote is successful each business involved in the BID area will be required to pay a BID levy for the five years of the plan.

Speaking at a conference in Ballymena to mark the tenth anniversary of the introduction of BIDs legislation in England and Wales, Minister McCausland spoke of the new plans.

The Minister said: "It is very important that we get the BIDs scheme in Northern Ireland off to the best possible start.

“I looked at a number of options for providing support for BIDs and decided that the best way forward is to bring in external expertise, with a proven track record in helping areas take forward BIDs from inception to implementation to get the scheme up and running.

“I am pleased to announce that, following an open procurement completion, a consortium involving the Mosaic Partnership, Place Solutions and the Association of Town and City Management has been appointed to provide support and capacity building. They will also provide assistance to a number of pilot BID areas. My Department looks forward to working constructively with the appointed consortium to implement the BIDs scheme here in Northern Ireland.”

Notes to editors:

1. The Business Improvement Districts Act received Royal Assent on 21 March 2013.

2. The Department has recently finished a public consultation on draft BIDS Regulations and will be considering the responses received over the next number of weeks. It is expected that the Regulations will be in place by the end of the year.

3. An open procurement competition was run over the summer months to recruit external expertise to assist the Department in kick starting BIDS in Northern Ireland.

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