Making a Bid for the positives

THE manager of Boston Business Improvement District has hailed the town’s organisation a success after support for BIDs from celebrity retail guru Mary Portas.

In the consultant’s high profile high street review she said BIDs were making important inroads in boosting our town’s fortunes.

Boston BID has been going for three years and has often proven to be divisive in the community particularly with rate payers.

Manager Niall Armstrong said: “There are several things we have done which have proved to be successful and appreciated.”

He pointed to the introduction of town rangers, the Christmas Market, the reduction of business rates and said their were long-term projects going on.

He added the proof of the BID’s success would be if the organisation was voted back in next year.

He admitted, however, there were sometimes issues in how services were delivered and said that the group did not have statutory powers so had to work with other organisations.

He said: “We are dependent on other organisations to achieve goals set. We also want to work with other businesses to get what they want to see happen.”

In her report, Mrs Portas said: “BIDs are clearly a step in the right direction but as with most things in life are only as good as the people who manage them.”

She suggested creating Super-BIDs which would be given more powers and allowed to exercise new community rights to buy assets and run services.

“Super-BIDs should be about more than just ‘grime and crime’,” she said.

Out of more than 100 BIDs nationally, around a third have been renewed which Mrs Portas said indicates something is working.

However, she said she had seen less successful models where the organisations were ‘lacking in crafting and delivering a unique and compelling strategic vision for a town’.

l Last week we reported how Boston’s BID could join forces with the ‘town team’ to work for the good of Boston.

Borough council officer Steve Lumb has re-iterated that other parties involved in this future group could be Pescod Square, the Preservation Trust, individual business representatives, ward councillors and the council, although the authority does not have to take a lead role..