Colmore BID show what can be achieved in Redcliffe & Temple 15 January 2021

Throughout our consultation we have been keen to demonstrate the successes of other similar Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) around the country and have continued to learn from these BIDs as we developed our Business Plan. Whilst visits to BIDs Team London Bridge and Better Bankside were cancelled in April due to the lockdown we were fortunate enough to spend time with Colmore BID in February 2020.

Colmore BID is Birmingham’s commercial district and home to no less than 35 businesses that have offices in both Colmore and in Redcliffe & Temple. Colmore BID was established in 2009 and has grown from strength to strength since developing excellent relationships with businesses and becoming a true ‘city partner’, investing £1.2m into the area each year.

In 2018 Colmore BID secured another successful yes vote for its third BID term; the ballot results were amongst the best in the country with those in favour making up 96% of the turnout by number and 98% by rateable value.

The Colmore BID team is led by Michelle Wilby who was kind enough to both host us in Birmingham and visit Bristol to talk us through some of their work and offer their help and ideas.

During our tour of Colmore in February, Mike Mounfield showed us work undertaken by the BID’s ‘Outstanding Places’ working group to create two pocket parks including the one pictured above; Church Street Square. “The Church Street Square project has been a huge success, creating a space for staff and visitors to enjoy. People will sit out there in any weather and it is the most referenced project by our levy payers”.

Michelle and Mike also described the Colmore Food Festival and Community Games events that take place each summer as helping to build a sense of community and offer activities and events for the staff in the area. We were impressed to hear that the festival’s food and drink are provided exclusively by the cafes, pubs and restaurants in the Colmore area with the event attracting 35,000 people over a two-day period helping to support the local independent businesses in the district.

During discussions Michelle also spoke about the importance and strength of the Colmore BID Board which includes representatives from Redcliffe & Temple based businesses DWF, Bevan Brittan, Lambert Smith Hampton and Mott Macdonald. Each of the Board’s non-executive directors sit on Working Groups, made up from staff from across the area, and designed to help to drive the BID’s projects. The team strongly recommended this model is replicated here Bristol and we look forward to utilising the expertise and passion of staff within the area to develop our own projects.

When asked about the biggest achievements of the BID, Michelle reflected on discussions she had with two business in 2018 who approached her to say that they had been considering moving out of the Colmore area, however there had been an outcry from their staff who loved the events and community activities organised by the BID Michelle said: “Businesses want happy staff and to retain those staff, they wanted to be part of what we were now branding ‘Colmore Life’, this was a business decision being made on the fact that the BID is here and that was quite a moment for us”.

It has been inspiring to learn from Colmore BID and hear how they have created the sense of community and vibrancy that now exists in this thriving commercial area. We are now asking for businesses to ‘Vote Yes’ at the Redcliffe and Temple BID ballot from 18 March – 15 April to give us the opportunity to do the same here in Redcliffe & Temple.

For more on Colmore BID please click here. To read our Business Plan please click here.