15 November 2021
The city’s Business Improvement District (BID) GO! Southampton has announced it will continue for another five-year term following a successful renewal ballot.
The ballot closed on 11th November, with the final result being an overwhelming 92.2% yes by rateable value and 91.4% by number of businesses. The BID required 51% ‘yes’ votes on both counts. Turnout was 44% by number and 62% by rateable value, well in excess of the average for BID ballots, and considerably higher than the figure achieved in most BID ballots during the pandemic.
During its first five-year term GO! Southampton’s members have invested some £5.4m into the city centre and provided much-needed support to businesses – especially during the pandemic. From introducing a business crime partnership initiative that reduced shop theft by 62% and recovered more than £81k worth of stock, to pushing Southampton into the final eight to become UK City of Culture 2025, the BID’s contribution has been vital to the city since it began in 2017.
Other highlights include securing £72.7 million in partner investment for the city, tackling some seven thousand cleanliness issues, removing 2,573 pieces of graffiti removed and implementing a recycling scheme that has saved BID members £36,500. GO! Southampton also introduced the Southampton Inside Out initiative that helped hospitality businesses maximise outdoor dining space in the face of COVID-19 and activate a car-free Carlton Place.
With its “yes” vote in place, GO! Southampton will put its next five-year plan into action. Projects include:
- Support for the masterplanning and development of the Mayflower Quarter
- Ensuring businesses continue to be represented at all levels and action key issues
- Connecting businesses and local agencies to help boost employment opportunities for young people and provide staff to member businesses
- Commissioning a retail and leisure gap analysis and ‘recruiting’ new businesses to the high street
- More work to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
- Further development of the Visit Southampton website and social channels.
- Increased cleaning during the day and night.
- A city centre that promotes inclusion and diversity.
Tim Keeping, Chair of GO! Southampton said: “This an excellent result. I would like to thank the team and the board for their hard work over the past five years and specifically over the past few months leading into the ballot.
“Our work towards the end of our first term was of course influenced by the coronavirus pandemic which, whilst hugely unwelcome, really showed how the BID team working in partnership with the Council and other agencies could respond to all eventualities. We hope our second term might be similarly influenced by a major event but this time in becoming UK City of Culture 2025.
“It’s important to remember that the BID got over the line in 2016 with 57% on both counts, reflecting the fact that there had been a failed ballot several years before. To go from this figure to 90%-plus on both counts is stunning. It’s a great feeling to know Southampton businesses are truly behind us and share our vision for the future. Thank you to all those who voted and supported us in the ballot.”
Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry, Leader of the Council, said: “We’re so pleased that businesses have backed the BID and that GO! Southampton has been able to secure another five-year term.
“The city has really benefited from us working closely with GO! Southampton to help improve our city centre and help businesses thrive. Improvements we have been able to work on together include enhanced cleansing and maintenance operations for the city. The team at the BID has also improved coordination of the city’s marketing and delivered crowd-drawing events, helping to increase Southampton’s city visitor numbers and build our reputation at home and abroad.
“We are looking forward to working with the BID for another five years so we can build on what has already been achieved and help to Get Southampton Moving, creating a thriving city centre experience and both protecting and creating new jobs. Our partnership will also be instrumental in supporting the UK City of Culture 2025 bid.”