Newsletter to BID Members

The Go Forth Stirling BID is funded and managed by the eligible businesses within the city centre. The structure of the BID is a simple one:

• Limited company formed to manage the levy revenue.
• Board of directors appointed to manage BID company.
• BID manager appointed by board of directors.
• The board and BID manager ensure the initiatives
within the Go Forth Business Plan are delivered.

It is best practice and recommended by BIDs Scotland to have at least 12 people on the board of directors. The board is made up by representatives from eligible businesses; those that pay the levy. The Steering Group who have successfully managed Go Forth through to the Yes vote are now the ‘interim board,’ it is there role to appoint the final board of directors and manage any other administrative tasks. Interested parties wishing to put themselves forward to join the board of directors are invited to complete the form overleaf and return it as soon as possible. If you think you have got what it takes to be a proactive director, apply today!

Application Form is within PDF download, scroll to the bottom of this post.

What is Go Forth focussing on now?

Kerse Road Bridge - Closure
Whilst visiting businesses throughout the voting period there was one issue that kept getting discussed, the extended closure of the Kerse road bridge to allow for railway electrification works by Network Rail. The Go Forth interim board will be making representation to Stirling Council and Network Rail on behalf of the city centre businesses, with the aim of reducing the overall timetable of the closure.

The bridge is used by over 20,000 vehicles everyday. The recent closure to allow Network Rail to survey the bridge and surrounding area resulted in many parts of the city centre grinding to a halt at busy times. In addition areas such as Braehead and Riverside saw a spike in through traffic. The increase in traffic also caused longer queues at the Old Bridge roundabout, Causewayhead and Alloa road.

Whilst the electrification of the railway is a welcome enhancement for Stirling’s rail users the works required to achieve this should not have an overly detrimental affect on the city’s businesses. It is important that in any situation of claiming compensation, businesses can prove business affect and damage, so please keep accurate records.

The Go Forth interim board will be seeking an alternative plan from Network Rail that reduces the timetable of the closure and provides better diversions for vehicle users. If you would like to share your thoughts please get in touch, updates will be provided via the Go Forth website.

Local Authority Collaboration
Stirling Council has established a ‘Place Management’ team within the Economic Development department; charged with supporting and stimulating sustainable, economic growth in Stirling city centre and town centres across the district. Go Forth will be working closely with this team to ensure the city centre businesses are represented and involved with decision making.

The Place Management team organised a recent city centre ‘action group’ which will be an additional means of communication for city centre businesses to Stirling Council’s departments. Go Forth have representation in this group and will continue to work closely with the local authority to avoid any duplication of initiatives and deliver the business plan; all being additional goals to local authority statutory services.

The implementation of this department is seen as a positive step by the BID Steering Group. It should allow for a more collaborative relationship between the local authority and other city centre stakeholders.

Company Setup
The interim BID board made up of the Steering Group members are currently setting up the BID limited company and making all the preparations required to formally establish Go Forth Stirling Business Improvement District.

Download this newsletter as a PDF

Go Forth Stirling gets Yes vote for city centre BID.

The result of the ballot to create a Business Improvement District within Stirling city centre has been announced; Go Forth Stirling has received a Yes vote and will now proceed to implement their Business Plan.

The ballot closed at 5pm on the 4th July 2017.

The total valid votes cast were: 195
And the turnout (the headcount) was: 48%

114 Yes votes
In favour of the Business Improvement District proposals for the areas within Stirling City Centre as specified on the Ballot Paper. 

71 No votes
Not in favour of the Business Improvement District proposals for the areas within Stirling City Centre as specified on the Ballot Paper. 

10 Rejected votes
Unsigned, unmarked or void for uncertainty. 

The Go Forth Steering Group are thrilled to have received a positive vote from Stirling’s city centre businesses. After months of research, consultation and campaigning Peter Betts, Chair of the Steering Group, shared his thoughts on behalf of the group ‘I am a strong believer in the importance of proactive and effective city centre management and I think the BID is the best vehicle for the businesses to coordinate themselves and allow them to fully play their part in influencing and shaping the future of the city centre. The success of the BID will be measured on how it delivers the initiatives within the Business Plan but also if it can unite the business community for a common goal; a better future for Stirling city centre. 

The Go Forth Stirling BID team will now begin work on setting up the company, recruiting a BID director and preparing to start delivering services from September, 
when the first round of levy money will be collected.

The vice chair of Go Forth Andrew Mitchell said ‘I wish to thank all the businesses that shared their thoughts and ideas along the way and ultimately created the foundations of the Business Plan, we wouldn’t have been able to create such a progressive set of initiatives without their input.

Download this release as PDF

Go Forth Stirling - Additional External Funding

Business Improvement Districts have a proven track record of attracting and raising additional external funding for their respective areas. Across the Scottish BIDs this equates to an average of 47p for every £1 of levy raised. It is an approach that Go Forth Stirling will follow; using the projected five-year levy fund of £1.6 million to inspire and attract additional inward investment to benefit the BID area further. Following this statistical average could mean an additional £750,000 of funding for city centre projects over this term.

The Go Forth Steering Group are still making visits to city centre businesses during the current voting period, explaining the benefits a BID could bring to them, voting closes on 4th July. The money raised to fund the Go Forth Business Plan is generated by the affected businesses in the BID area, the Steering Group are keen to highlight the potential for additional investment from external sources.

‘We are still meeting businesses and talking about the benefits a BID could bring to them, part of these discussions has been around extra funding for Go Forth. The structure of BIDs and their proven success make them an attractive vehicle for external bodies to invest in. The business owners in Stirling have a real opportunity to get a lot of extra money invested in their area, over and above the investment they would be making themselves.’ - David Gowen 

The Steering Group published examples of additional funding collected by other BIDs across Scotland in the Go Forth Business Plan to illustrate the opportunity.

City/Town           5 Year Levy Income         Additional External Funding
Aberdeen            £4,000,000                     £2,475,000
Crieff                   £500,000                        £205,000
Edinburgh BIDs   £6,209,176                       £973,130
Dunfermline        £868,000                         £485,000
Falkirk                 £930,000                         £465,000

£41.3 million raised by Scottish BIDs since 2008. 
Additional £19.6 million leveraged from external bodies. 47p for every £1.


Voting continues across the proposed BID area until 4th July. Any business who wants more information or would like to discuss the proposals can contact David Gowen at Go Forth Stirling - david@GoForthStirling.co.uk

Download this press release as a PDF

Go Forth Group Buy

Go Forth Group Buy

The Go Forth Steering Group have been visiting businesses across the city centre, to make them aware of the publication of the final Business Plan for Stirling’s proposed Business Improvement District; the Plan will be posted to businesses this week along with ballot papers.

Overall the conversations have been positive and it would appear that many of the objections towards the first BID attempt have been resolved. The majority of businesses visited so far are supporting the initiatives within the Plan.

Go Forth Group Buy
One proposal receiving very positive feedback is the group buying scheme for businesses within the city centre. The Go Forth steering group were determined to introduce initiatives that could enable levy payers to recoup the cost of their annual levy. There is already a trial scheme in place to help businesses reduce their card payment processing charges; participants have seen savings of up to 70%!

Example
£100,000 annual card transactions
0.5% reduction in processing fees
£500 per annum saving

The success of the Group Buy scheme will depend on businesses participating and helping form a large collective; having the numbers will create the buying power to deliver savings. The steering group have identified the following areas that would be included for tender under the Go Forth Group Buy scheme:

Card Payment Services
Gas and Electricity
Telephony
Waste Collection

Vice Chair of Go Forth Andrew Mitchell said ‘We aim to return as much of the levy cost back to the BID businesses through added value services and tangible savings. The Group Buy scheme is a great opportunity for us to deliver on this aim. It is well recognised that big buying power gets the biggest savings; the BID businesses spend a lot of money on key services and we know we can help reduce those costs. For some businesses the savings will equate to more than their annual levy costs, so it’s a great initiative.’

The steering group are urging all businesses to read the Business Plan in full and see how they can benefit. They want everybody to use their vote to maximise voter turnout. 

Download PDF

Go Forth Stirling Business Plan

The Go Forth Business Plan is now available for everyone to read. The Plan is the result of extensive consultation with Stirling's city centre businesses over the past ten months. There are three main categories of proposed initiatives; ‘Increasing Footfall and Spend,’ ‘City Environment’ and ‘Business Support.’ The Steering Group have highlighted three WOW initiatives within the Plan, Free City Centre Wi-Fi, the introduction of a Land Train and the launch of a new Winter Festival. Please contact us if you have any questions relating to the plan; ballot papers and a printed copy of the Business Plan will be sent to all ballot holders from 23rd May 2017.

Download Go Forth Business Plan PDF

Next Steps Open Meeting

 

The second stage of consultation with Stirling City Centre’s businesses regarding the proposed Business Improvement District has been completed by Go Forth Stirling. The survey was distributed to over 400 affected businesses.

The second survey was a far more extensive selection of questions designed to gauge the feelings of businesses on a number of key areas. In line with Go Forth’s first survey there have been some very interesting results; overall the business community appear to be indicating a desire for change in how the city centre is currently managed. Over 60% of respondents are not happy with the way the city centre is currently managed. The steering group running the campaign to introduce a Business Improvement District are very pleased with the feedback that has been received and are pressing ahead with the project.

The next stage in the process is an open meeting for affected businesses; invitations have been distributed over the past ten days. The meeting is being held to present the results of the recent survey and invite feedback and questions from those in attendance. The ideas tabled at the meeting will be included in the final business plan if the business community support them. The meeting is an opportunity for businesses to put forward their views and ideas, and help shape the final Go Forth Stirling business plan.

The chairman of the steering group behind the campaign Peter Betts, Debenhams Store Manager, said ‘We believe the opportunity for businesses to work together to secure a successful future for Stirling City Centre must be grasped, and in our opinion the introduction of a Business Improvement District is the best route to achieve this. Whatever business or organisation you represent in Stirling creating a BID will not only help you but it will ensure the future is as good as it can be for the city centre. If we come together under the umbrella of a BID and work collaboratively we will achieve far more than working on our own.’

The meeting will take place at The Golden Lion, King Street, Stirling on Tuesday 24th - 17:45 for tea and coffee with the business starting at 18:00. The steering group are mindful of the time commitment to attend the meeting so have set a finish time of 19:00.

There is still an opportunity to join the steering group and play a part in shaping the BID. Interested parties are invited to make contact with any of the committee members directly or at the upcoming ‘Next Steps’ meeting.

Meeting Date, Time and Location
24th January 2017
17:45 - Tea and Coffee
18:00 - Start
19:00 - Finish

The Golden Lion
King Street
Stirling FK8 1BD

Download this as a pdf

 

 

Cluster Meetings

 

Go Forth Neighbourhood Meetings

The first stage of consultation with local independents, to see if Stirling City Centre’s businesses want a Business Improvement District has been completed by Go Forth Stirling. The survey was presented in person to over 170 affected businesses, with 148 taking part and completing the short series of questions. 

It has produced some interesting findings, the chairman of the steering group behind the campaign Peter Betts, Debenhams Store Manager, said ‘Eighty percent of the companies who completed our stage one survey have all expressed an interest to work more closely with other city centre businesses, which is very encouraging.’ 

He added ‘A Business Improvement District can only be created and go on to thrive with the backing of the majority of those affected, so we are pleased that so many people have expressed a desire to work together.’

A misconception expressed by some of those business surveyed is that the proposed Business Improvement District is a council led initiative and will allow the local authority to reduce services to businesses and the city centre. This is not the case, all of the initiatives provided by a Business Improvement District are additional ones that the have been proposed by the businesses themselves.

The steering group are now moving into the second stage of consultation, this will start with a series of local cluster meetings within each individual area of the city centre. The intention is to have an open forum where businesses can express the needs and desires for their area. The owner of Crema cafe and member of the steering group Alan Rodgers said ‘We have needs on Murray Place that will be quite different to those people in a different part of the city centre. Having just opened our second site within The Stirling Arcade I know how true this is for us. The location of our new cafe definitely has requirements that differ from Crema on Murray Place’.

The steering group will be contacting businesses over the next two weeks and inviting them to attend their local cluster meeting to share their thoughts and experiences. There is still an opportunity to join the steering group and play a part in shaping the BID. Interested parties are invited to make contact with any of the committee members directly or at the upcoming cluster meetings.


Meeting Dates, Times and Locations
16:00 drop in anytime
17:45 to 18:30 group meeting

6th September - Friar Street area
Sable and Flea Coffee Shop

7th September - Murray Place & King Street
Crema Coffee Shop

13th September - Port Street & Upper Craigs
Kilted Kangeroo

14th September - Barton Street area
La Ciociara restaurant

Download this as a pdf

 

Go Forth

 

The Campaign Starts

The campaign to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in Stirling City centre narrowly missed being voted in last year. The proposal was introduced by a group of local business leaders from independent and national companies. All of them want to help make Stirling City centre a better place to visit, live and work in.

Their determination and passion to improve Stirling meant they didn’t give up on the BID idea, instead they reviewed the original proposals, surveying over 100 of the ratepayers who voted first time round. This research combined with their original ideas about improving the city convinced them once again that Stirling City Centre businesses would benefit from the introduction of a Business Improvement District. They have taken the decision to launch a new campaign for a Business Improvement District in Stirling and have started the required consultation with affected ratepayers within the BID area.

The BID steering group operate entirely separately from Stirling Council and the Scottish Government, a popular misconception is that this is a ‘council led scheme’ replacing services delivered by the council, it is not. The council will collect the BID levy on behalf of the Business Improvement District but this is immediately transferred to the BID Company, formed after a successful vote.

A Business Improvement District raises funds for an agreed programme of initiatives that are determined by the ratepayers and BID steering group during the consultation period. These initiatives are all laid out in the business plan, produced after the consultation. They are funded by the ratepayers paying a small percentage levy of their property’s rateable value (RV), in this case no more than 1.25% for properties with a RV over £10000 per annum. The levy is payable in two six monthly payments.

The collective that is a Business Improvement District creates a very powerful, cohesive group of businesses and organisations. This single body can deliver ideas not usually possible to the individual ratepayer alone. It has a single voice when lobbying local and national government and can attract inward investment because of its unique structure. As proven in other BID areas it can also deliver real value and savings to its members, an example of this is group purchasing schemes that often result in savings that add up to more than the annual cost of the levy!

The BID steering group want to help stimulate Stirling City centre making it thrive and become a more vibrant and successful place. The day-to-day pressures on businesses and the current difficult market conditions make a Business Improvement District in Stirling a more attractive proposal than ever.

The steering group are looking for all businesses within the proposed Business Improvement District area to engage with the consultation and play their part in shaping the BID business plan. Interested parties are invited to make contact with any of the committee members.

Download this as a pdf