With Lincoln BIG’s crucial five-year reballot just weeks away, the Business Improvement Group spoke about what it wants to achieve, provided its 800 levy payers give it a resounding “YES” vote.
Voting papers are due to be posted out on Wednesday, October 9 and the ballot closes just six weeks later at 5pm on November 6 – with the result announced later that evening.
Now the Lincoln BIG team, led by Chief Executive Sarah Loftus – which has delivered the organisation’s 2020-2025 Business Plan to its levy payers – is urging them to support the BID in the forthcoming ballot.
“In our Business Plan we have clearly reminded our “member” businesses of the fact that they could lose around 40 support services and initiatives, unless they give us a strong enough “YES” vote and the mandate to carry on with our work,” said Sarah.
“Success will see us put more than £1 million a year (comprising their levy monies and other income which we generate) to work and we are confident this will allow us to make a noticeable difference to the city as a whole.
“We have drawn-up three priorities – under the headings Welcome; Experience and Value – and provided we get the “YES” vote, we want to hit the ground running and get ourselves noticed delivering on these in Year One (2020-2021). In fact, we’ve already made a start!
“Businesses in the BID area pay a levy which is based on their individual rateable values. The average amount they will pay is an average of £1.82 to £51.66 per week.
“That translates into the cost of anything from one cup of coffee a week for a small independent business to seven cups of coffee for a national retailer,” said Sarah.
“In line with our first priority – WELCOME – we are focusing on creating a safer, cleaner and more welcoming city centre. In year one we pledge to maintain our city warden service and respond to business requests to target hotspots for cleaning. That will see us using our gum removal machine and street vacuum and dealing with the removal of graffiti.
“We also want to deliver four community clean-up projects; manage the Lincoln in Bloom scheme again and increase the number of venues involved in the Ask Angela Campaign, as well as boost our Security Group membership by 10 per cent.”
Lincoln BIG’s second priority – EXPERIENCE - will focus on creating a World Class experience for all visitors.
“In year one, we are keen to provide five quality events, a sculpture trail and to manage existing seasonal trails in the city. We want to develop tourism projects with our partners, to devise five High Street experiences and come-up with a public spaces plan by working with landowners,” said Sarah.
Lincoln BIG’s third priority – VALUE – is all about giving our levy payers a great deal and using the collective voice of levy payers and partners within the city.
“In year one, we aim to increase the take-up of the BIG Bus and Car Park passes by five percent, to give up to 40 businesses 12 hours of support under the Collaboration4Growth programme, enable more businesses to access this programme, highlight our Park & Ride service and work with partners to promote Lincoln’s uniqueness through three campaigns,” added Sarah.
“That sounds like an awful lot of work during the first year of our new Plan, but the Lincoln BIG team is raring to go and it will be reporting back on its successes,” added Sarah.
Lincoln BIG is all about “additionality”. It doesn’t look to replace local council or police services but to provide extra resources and activities to help raise Lincoln’s game.