GO! Southampton BID goes to ballot

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14 October 2021

Businesses in Southampton City Centre are being urged to cast their vote from today (October 14) in favour of keeping the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) – GO! Southampton.

Every five years, eligible businesses across Southampton city centre are invited to vote at a ballot to determine if they support GO! Southampton to invest over £6.45m in a programme of work which enhances the city centre.

Now businesses have until November 11 to return their ballot voting papers and ensure GO! Southampton continues to build a better, brighter and stronger future for the city centre, its residents, employees and visitors.

The BID has worked tirelessly to improve the city centre through investment, combatting crime, tackling cleanliness, promoting what’s on offer as well as a host of other successes via its four theme groups; Greater City Centre Experience, Stronger Business, Better Marketing and Culture, Events and Partnerships.

During its first five years GO! Southampton has notched up a wealth of success stories and initiatives, including:

  • Securing £72.7 million in partner investment for the city.
  • Invested £5.4 million directly into the city economy.
  • Data shows the BID secured an extra 25p for every £1 spent in the city centre.
  • Action to reduce shop theft by 64%.
  • Tackling some six and a half thousand cleanliness issues.
  • Removing 2,495 pieces of graffiti.
  • Visit Southampton marketing to reach 4.7 million people – 77% outside the city.
  • Staycation PR campaign reaching over 65million

Giles Semper, Executive Director at GO! Southampton said: “We have achieved a lot during our first term and both businesses and visitors to Southampton have reported considerable improvements. In fact, our reports show 90% of businesses said GO! Southampton had made a positive or very positive contribution to the city. In addition 89% said they felt they had a voice in key city decisions through the BID and 99% said they felt the BID would support them – which for us is a great result.

“We cannot continue to do all this great work without the vote from the businesses. We’re a rolling stone gathering moss and to stop now would mean putting the brakes on a number of important projects and lowering management standards in the city. So please vote ‘yes’!”

Those future plans include:

  • More work to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Further developing Visit Southampton’s platforms.
  • Increased cleaning during day and night.
  • Increased inclusion and diversity throughout the city.
  • Continued action on business representation and action on key issues.

Many local businesses have already voiced their support for the renewal of GO! Southampton.

Lauren Sutton, Manager of the Mercure Southampton Dolphin Hotel, said: “The BID has helped us raise the profile of our business through the Visit Southampton brand and PR activity.”

Louise Lock, Market Manager of IKEA, commented: “GO! Southampton is forward thinking in its events programme, bringing fresh and exciting ideas to the city every year as well as supporting city-wide events such as Pride.”

Scott Brown, Store Manager of Primark, added: “The BID goes above and beyond in responding to the challenges facing the city with crime and anti-social behaviour.”

The BID came into being on 1 April 2017 after a successful ballot the previous November. To continue its term, GO! Southampton must be re-elected and if successful, will remain in operation for the next five years.

The BID has also achieved significant milestones in Southampton during its term including strengthening the police presence, reducing shop theft by 64% and the recovery of almost £60,000 worth of stolen goods through its nationally accredited Southampton Business Crime Partnership.

GO! Southampton also campaigned hard during the pandemic to support businesses, from launching Southampton Inside Out and allowing pubs and restaurants more trading space outside, to offering discount and incentives through its SO Card scheme.

Businesses have saved £36,500 over the last two years through a new recycling scheme introduced by the BID in partnership with Southampton City Council, the BID also secured the removal of the late-night levy, saving £67,000 each year for the city’s night-time businesses.

Last month’s successful inaugural Re:Claim Street Festival was created by GO! Southampton to celebrate the long-awaited return of the “back to normal” following the pandemic. The festival attracted more than 22,000 people to the city centre on 25th September – increasing footfall to the city by nearly 10,000 compared to the previous Saturday. Of these, more than 15,000 were new visitors. It is hoped that if GO! Southampton’s term is renewed, the festival will make a return next year.

City-centre businesses were set to receive their postal vote by 14 October and have until 11 November at 5pm to return it. More information and how to vote can be found at www.gosouthampton.co.uk/ballot2021

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