Plymouth businesses are to vote on a new £13million Waterfront BID which could see Drake’s Island included in the zone but also remove voting rights and bills for 400 businesses.
Proposals being worked on for the new Plymouth Waterfront Partnership’s Business Improvement District (PWP BID) include “two small tweaks” that would see the BID area extended around Drake’s Island, but with a small part of Union Street, near the junction with Western Approach, removed.
The new Millbay “boulevard” remains in the zone, but the only part of Union Street inside it is a small section around Princess Yachts’ Newport Street base.
The proposed zone stretches from the Royal William Yard to Mount Batten, and encompasses Stonehouse peninsula, Millbay, the Hoe, the Barbican, Sutton Harbour, Coxside, and butts up against the City Centre BID4 area.
Drake’s Island was bought by Plymouth businessman Morgan Phillips’ Plymouth Sound Properties Ltd company in 2019 and a year later he revealed a triple-staged plan to create a hotel and spa on the island, and a heritage centre and educational facility.
Meanwhile, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, which runs the BID, said in a consultation document that “it has become apparent that tweaks needed to be made to the rules which govern the BID”.
It has proposed introducing a Basic Level Membership for small businesses with a rateable value of £7,000 or less, which will be exempt from paying the BID levy but would lose voting rights in the ballot.
The consultation document said this would shift about 400 current levy-paying businesses, almost half the entire number in the zone, into the new category, terming them “basic” members, but stressed they would still receive a “very basic level of service” as they will still operate from within the BID area.
There is also a proposal to remove the inflationary rate increase each year, but the levy will still be calculated at 1.7% of a business’ rateable value on the ballot date. Owners of empty properties still would have to pay the levy too, as would charities and not-for-profit organisations
Consultations have been taking place with waterfront businesses, and a business plan will be drawn up for the renewal of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership’s Business Improvement District (PWP BID) for another five years. A ballot will be held in November and if successful Waterfront BID3 will start in April 2022 and run until 2027.
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Waterfront BID3 sets out an “ambitious vision” for the area with a plan for driving growth and supporting the development of the waterfront, continuing to focus on business priorities of increasing visitor numbers, customer spend and commercial success.
Plymouth City Council has already confirmed its support for the draft business plan, Waterfront BID3, at a Cabinet meeting. The council has committed financial support and agreed baseline services to PWP. Any business contributions made by BID levy payers – about £1.8million- will deliver additional investment over and above the support made by the council, which totals more than £6.2million.
This is in addition to other targeted grant and match funding of £5million, bringing the total projected value of Waterfront BID3 to more than £13million over five years. PWP’s BID2 currently encompasses more than 900 businesses and runs from 2017 until March 31, 2022.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF PLANS FOR PLYMOUTH’S WATERFRONT AND THE CONCEPT OF BIDS? PLEASE COMMENT BELOW
Cllr Pete Smith, deputy leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “We’re proud to have worked closely with PWP since 2010. The new business plan could play a very important role in helping us to deliver our strategic visitor objectives set out in the Plymouth Visitor Plan for 2020-2030.
“The waterfront is the jewel in Plymouth’s crown and with our ambitions to be the first National Marine Park in the UK, working with PWP is key to further developing and improving our Waterfront area.”
Nick Buckland, chair of PWP, said: “Our overall aim for the BID is to promote, guide and support the development of Plymouth’s Waterfront while giving our business members a collective voice and supporting their growth.
“Waterfront BID3 will see us develop stronger working relationships with our strategic partners and member businesses, with the common goal of securing economic prosperity, improving our environment, attracting more visitors and increasing consumer spend, for the benefit of everyone.”