Multi-million pound investment plans secured with two BID ballot successes in Fleet Street Quarter and Eastern City area

Local businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating two new Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in the City of London securing investment plans totalling more than £30m over the next five years.

Driven by the private sector, the Fleet Street Quarter (FSQ) and EC Partnership (EC) BIDs will go live in April for a first five-year term, delivering a range of ambitious projects including major public realm enhancements, agenda-setting green and climate resilience initiatives and high-profile destination marketing campaigns. They will join the two BIDs already established in the City, in Cheapside and Aldgate. A potential fifth BID in the City, for the Culture Mile, will go to ballot in early 2023.

In the Fleet Street Quarter, of those businesses that voted, 88% voted ‘yes’ at the ballot (90% by rateable value). In the EC Partnership area, of those businesses that voted, 78% voted ‘yes’ at the ballot (83% by rateable value).

The unanimous ballot results are a strong endorsement of the work of BIDs across the Square Mile and London, where now there are more than 70. The City of London Corporation, as BID proposer across the Square Mile, is committed to supporting the development of BIDs and looks forward to working collaboratively with businesses to deliver on their aims and aspirations for a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable community, providing the platform for businesses to continue to evolve and flourish. The BID teams will now work with the City Corporation and other partners to deliver the ambitious business plans which were published in advance of the ballots being held.

Over the next five years, the new EC Partnership BID will invest around £21 million in a range of strategic and operational projects, anchored by the ESG agenda. The EC Partnership BID will be the UK’s largest occupier BID by income. The BID’s programme will focus on:

– Creating a greener, cleaner and more welcoming City for all, ensuring the area’s built environment adapts to post COVID trends and supports the renaissance of London.
– Placing social purpose and value at the heart of the offer. There will be an aspiration to ensure that the area is known for its inclusivity, diversity and innovation and projects across a range of areas, such as wellbeing, advocacy, and education will be delivered.
– The BID being a democratic and collective voice for all the local business community that encourages good growth, championing an area that is diverse and inclusive for SME’s as well as major corporate brands.
– Showcasing the area’s contribution to the global economy and promoting its wide appeal to future investors, workers and visitors. The EC Partnership area’s position as a global influencer can be bolstered through a targeted programme of activity driven by the BID in the coming 5 years.
With the UK’s departure from the EU and the COVID-19 pandemic, much has changed over the past 18 months. While the Square Mile’s future is looking bright, there is a recognition that all districts must rise to the challenges of adapting to the impact of the new, hybrid ways of working and all which they bring, and put forward exemplar offerings to encourage office workers to return, to support inward investment and to tempt back domestic and international visitors. With increasing pressure on the public purse there has never been a greater need for a renewed focus on public/private partnership, and BIDs are a tried and tested model for turning collective will into collective action.

With a strong development pipeline and continued investment, the City is anticipating growth in the coming years. Opportunities such as the opening of the long-awaited Elizabeth Line must be harnessed. The aspirations set before the COVID-19 pandemic, around creating a broader economic base and a 24/7 culture in the Square Mile still stand.

Alistair Subba Row, Chairman of the Fleet Street Quarter Partnership said:

“I’m delighted that our wonderful business community has recognised the huge opportunity that a BID for the Fleet Street Quarter represents. The news today means we will be able to deliver significant enhancements, putting the private sector in the driving seat in shaping a new vision for the whole Quarter. We stand ready to deliver our ambitious plans and working with our partners we will now be able to inject new life into this iconic area, curating and creating a more attractive, competitive and resilient destination for London.”

Andrew Reynolds, Chairman of the EC Partnership said:

“This is an important milestone for our businesses across the EC Partnership area, but also for the City and London as a whole. With a strong mandate and significant investment from the local business community, our vision for a more inclusive, greener and vibrant City can come to fruition over the next 5 years. Our plans are ambitious but achievable, and it is only through this sort of partnership approach that London can secure a brighter, more prosperous future.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation said:

“As the City’s economic recovery from the pandemic gains pace, we look forward to working collaboratively with all City BIDs as they seek to deliver their vision. We know BIDs can be influential in engaging with communities and in promoting the continued reinvention of an area. We hope the establishment of the BIDs in the Fleet Street Quarter and Eastern City locations will be the catalyst for investment and growth for the local areas and for the Square Mile as a whole.”

Ruth Duston OBE OC, MD of Primera Corporation, the regeneration consultancy which helped establish both the FSQ and EC Partnerships and led the BID ballot campaigns, said:

“BIDs in the capital are a powerful and strategic force for good. From transformational public realm projects, to supporting small businesses and making areas safer, cleaner and more pleasant places to visit or work, BIDs have a proven track record for driving change and innovation. These positive results mean that the opportunities for the Fleet Street Quarter and EC areas are significant, giving the private sector a real say in the future evolution of these fantastic locations.”

There are now more than 70 BIDs operating in central London. Not only providing important operational functions such as cleaning and greening, BIDs are increasingly seen as strategic partners to the public sector, providing vital ‘added value’ in districts across the capital and working hand in hand with the public sector bodies such as TfL, local councils and the GLA. Importantly, they give a voice to business communities and are able to lobby on big issues impacting on businesses.