Businesses in Blackburn have overwhelmingly voted to extend the contract of Blackburn BID and its plans to raise £1.5 million to spend on projects which will help boost the town centre.

Around 336 businesses in the town centre and surrounding retail parks voted overwhelmingly in a secret ballot in favour of a third five-year term for Blackburn town centre Business Improvement District (BID).

Blackburn BID originally launched in 2014, and now, the partnership will be able to continue with its plans to raise a further £1.5 million to spend on projects and initiatives to boost the town centre and support businesses over the next five years.

In the ballot, 92 per cent of businesses which took part voted in favour of a third term of Blackburn BID.

The yes vote represented 91 per cent of the individual business votes and 93 per cent of the total rateable value of the properties owned and managed by those who voted.

Blackburn BID chair, Nicola Clayton, also director of business development and external engagement at Blackburn College, said: “This is fantastic news and a huge vote of confidence from our brilliant town centre and retail park businesses.

“I’d like to thank all our BID members for their support for Blackburn BID to date and for backing a further investment of £1.5m over the next five years so that we can continue to make real progress with positive changes for the future.”

The yes vote means the BID will start to deliver its new five-year business plan prospectus from January 1, which responds to the needs that businesses have identified as priorities – which include marketing and promoting Blackburn as a vibrant town centre; creating a safer and more secure Blackburn town centre; creating a cleaner, greener and more sustainable environment; and supporting businesses with information and advice. 

Blackburn BID manager, Catherine Price, said: “It’s been my pleasure and privilege to manage Blackburn BID through its second term and I’m absolutely delighted that it will continue for a further five years. 

“Blackburn BID has achieved huge amounts during its first two terms and has supported businesses through incredibly challenging times including the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“I’m looking forward to building on those achievements over the next five years and continuing to work with and support our amazing BID members. 

“We are now full steam ahead for an amazing Christmas in Blackburn town centre, starting with From Broadway to Blackburn: Christmas lights switch on spectacular on November 25.”

Blackburn BID is a business-led, business-funded partnership set up to deliver improvements in, and add value to, Blackburn town centre and its retail parks.

Within the designated BID area, a levy is charged to business rate payers which is based on a small percentage of the rateable value for business rates.

Under UK national regulations, BIDs must hold a ballot every five years to determine whether they should continue, and more than 50 per cent of those who take part in the ballot, representing more than 50 per cent of the total rateable value of those who take part, must vote ‘yes’ for it to go ahead.

Every business which pays the BID levy has the opportunity to vote.

The levy charge – which applies to every business with a rateable value of more than £10,000 - is used to deliver projects and services which drive footfall to Blackburn town centre, because research shows that the more people who visit an area, the more they spend in local businesses.