New Business Improvement District in Fleet

In March 2017, businesses in Fleet voted overwhelmingly for the town to become a Business Improvement District (BID), which is set to bring in £750,000 over the next 5 years.

Business Improvement Districts have been operating in the UK for over a decade, and there are now over 270 BIDs established around the country. A BID is a business-led and business-funded body designed to focus improvements into a specific commercial area.

The newly established Fleet BID is led by the Fleet Business Forum, which has been campaigning for the town to become a Business Improvement District since 2015. Following the results of the successful campaign and the election of the Fleet BID Company Board, the town is now moving ahead with its 5-year Business Plan.

Emma Molyneux, Chair of the Fleet Business Forum and a local Fleet retailer, said: “We are delighted that businesses have voted for Fleet to become a Business Improvement District. This means that, as a business community, we will have the opportunity to take control of our trading environment and really make a difference creating a competitive Fleet fit for business now and in the future.”

The BID focuses chiefly on the town centre of Fleet, which is located outside of Ancells Business Park. However, companies based at UBC’s Sentinel House will naturally benefit from the creation of a local BID as the wider region will be promoted as a prime destination both for business and leisure, which will naturally increase footfall in the town centre and surrounding areas.

According to advice group British BIDs, the key benefits of becoming a BID include:

  • Businesses decide and direct what they want for the area
  • Businesses are represented and have a voice in issues effecting the area
  • Area promotion and increased footfall
  • Improved staff retention
  • Facilitated networking opportunities with neighbouring businesses

The Fleet BID intends to deliver various improvements, including the introduction of a “scheme for people working in Fleet to benefit from discounts from retailers and restaurants in the BID area” and plans for a “business to business scheme” to encourage trade between local businesses.

Other possible plans as outlined by Fleet Business Forum include:

  • The BID will explore a minibus service to provide transport to Fleet.
  • A team of Business Advisers will provide advice, guidance and support for businesses, whether they are start-ups or established businesses.
  • More support will be provided to businesses to enable them to benefit from events and activities being held in the town as well as the increased footfall these events generate.
  • Supporting business award schemes to raise the profile of businesses in Fleet.
  • Fleet will be promoted locally and to people living in nearby towns and villages as a place to shop, eat, relax and do business.

Watch the video to hear more from Emma Molyneux and her plans for Fleet BID:

You can also read the Fleet BID business plan here.

Images courtesy Fleet Business Improvement District.