Ballot success: businesses prescribe a new BID for the Harley Street Area

Multi-million pound investment plans secured with a ballot success in the Harley Street area

London’s latest Business Improvement District (BID) is set to be located in the UK’s most distinguished area of medical excellence, after local businesses showed overwhelming support for the development of a Harley Street Area BID.

The successful ballot results announced on Friday 3 December mean that the BID will be able to deliver ambitious improvements in the areas around Harley Street.

Of those local businesses that voted, 86% voted ‘yes’ at the ballot (88% by rateable value), supporting the creation of a new BID to provide the local business community with a voice to drive change, innovation and stimulate additional investment into the area.

The ballot announcement is a strong endorsement of the work of the Harley Street Area Partnership that was created back in 2019. The positive result is also a show of support for increased public/private collaboration across Westminster and London as a whole.

The BID team, led by specialist regeneration consultancy Primera Corporation, will work with Westminster City Council and other partners to deliver the ambitious business plan that was published in advance of the ballot being held. Today’s successful ballot result has seen the establishment of London’s 67th BID and is a promising indication of the growing role that BIDs are playing in London’s ongoing development.

Over £5 million will be invested into the area over the BID’s five-year term. As the UK’s first BID with a medical focus, the BID aims to use this investment to position the Harley Street area as pioneering and world-leading, ensuring that businesses and the local community benefit from the central location, good accessibility and strong identity Harley Street offers.

The BID’s work will build on priority areas that the local business community have identified, with priority projects including the development of a public realm strategy, improved signage, additional street cleansing, and more marketing and promotion of the area as a key medical tourism destination.

The Harley Street Area BID joins 16 other established BIDs in Westminster, more BIDs than any other London borough. BIDs in Westminster work closely with Westminster City Council on transformative projects, including the pedestrianization of Strand Aldwych and development of the Victoria station area.

Not only providing important operational functions such as cleaning and greening, BIDs are increasingly seen as strategic partners to the public sector, providing vital ‘added value’ in districts across the capital and working hand in hand with the public sector bodies such as TfL, local councils and the GLA. Importantly, they give a voice to business communities and are able to lobby on big issues impacting on businesses. The Harley Street Area BID will be a key catalyst for pushing forward change and continually amplifying the Harley Street area and its future growth.

In London’s changing landscape post-pandemic, areas in the capital are raising their game, no matter how well-known or iconic. The drive to compete for the best talent, a rightful share of the tourist market and entice domestic visitors has never been more important.

Ruth Duston OBE OC, MD of Primera Corporation said:

“BIDs in the capital are a powerful and strategic force for good, harnessing the power of the public and private sectors working hand in hand to achieve shared goals. From transformational public realm projects, to supporting small businesses and making areas safer, cleaner and more pleasant places to visit or work, BIDs have a proven track record for driving change and innovation. Today’s positive result means that the opportunities for the Harley Street Area are significant, giving the private sector a real say in the future evolution of this iconic location.”

Cllr Matthew Green, Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning, Westminster City Council said:

“Business Improvement Districts demonstrate the power of collaboration and play a key role in place leadership, stewardship and driving local economic growth. In Westminster, BIDs add enormous value to the work the Council is doing to tackle economic, environmental and social issues, from reinvigorating the high street to supporting a sustainable recovery.  I’m pleased to see the overwhelming support for the Harley Street Area BID and I look forward to continuing to work with the BID and local businesses, including on increasing footfall and employment in Marylebone and co-operating to attract new investment into the area, especially in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.”