Ilford town centre will see £2.2m investment after businesses vote in favour of BID

Ben Collins, Business Improvement district manager in the Exchange

Ben Collins, Business Improvement district manager in the Exchange - Credit: Archant

Ilford business owners have voted overwhelmingly to reinstate the same town centre management group for a second five-year term.

On behalf of almost 500 businesses in the town centre, Ilford Business Improvement District (BID) will now invest £2.2 million during the next term which ends in 2019.

Ben Collins, the BID manager, insists while last week’s ballot result was “overwhelming” with 92 per cent businesses voting in their favour there “needs to be more vision” from his team.

He said: “The most pleasing thing is not just the result but the comprehensive nature of the result. The businesses have given us a ringing endorsement and we head into our second term with a strong mandate from them.

“We do what the businesses want us to do: we will sponsor the town centre police team, planting schemes, additional cleaning and a lot more marketing and events.

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“The businesses said that they want all that. Now we are going into our sixth year we need to do more to satisfy the businesses.”

Each business within the BID pays 1.2 per cent of its rateable value into it each year.

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The turnout was 47 per cent and of those voting, 92 per cent voted in favour of the BID.

Marc Myers, the BID chairman said: “At a time when many businesses could have sought to reduce cost it is very encouraging to see that they have chosen not to do so but rather to continue with their investment in the future of the town.”

During their first term, the BID introduced street ambassadors to Ilford Town Centre to assist shoppers and to “act as the eyes and ears” for businesses.

It has also staged events for Diwali, Eid, and Vaisakhi so far this year and is planning for Christmas.

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