The Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance has unveiled its plan to expand the business improvement district (BID) into the borough of Southwark.
The Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance has unveiled its plan to expand its business improvement district (BID) into the borough of Southwark.
Along with Better Bankside and the London Bridge BID Company, the Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance (WQBA) is one of three business improvement districts (BIDs) in SE1.
Established by a ballot of local businesses and funded by a levy on business rates, BIDs work to improve economic performance and the physical environment within a defined area.
After several years as a pilot project, Waterloo's BID began operation in April 2006. The legislation under which BIDs operate meant that WQBA had to confine itself to the Lambeth side of Waterloo.
With the Lambeth-Southwark boundary running down the middle of The Cut – one of the area's main shopping streets – this artificial limitation to WQBA's activities has become a source of frustration.
Now WQBA plans to ballot businesses in the part of Southwark from the borough boundary in the west to Blackfriars Road in the east between Isabella Street in the north and Westminster Bridge Road in the south with a view to establishing another BID to be operated in parallel with the existing Lambeth BID.
If businesses vote in favour of the Southwark BID, the levy on business rates will bring in approximately £250,000 a year – in addition to the £270,000 WQBA raises in Lambeth – for projects to improve the local environment and to market the area as a place to visit and do business.
"As a business we fully support this," says Chris Longley of Webber Street-based printers College Hill Press. "It's a bit of a no-brainer.
"A self-supportive network of like-minded organisations is a very worthwhile objective."
Also supporting the BID proposal is James Hibbert whose Dress2Kill shop opened in The Cut last year: "I think one of the secrets of Dress2Kill's success is the area ... it's got a magic about it," he told guests at the launch event for WQBA's Southwark expansion.
"The area as a whole has got huge potential. I'm 100 per cent behind [the BID proposal] – it can only serve to improve the area."
A postal ballot will be held between 23 January and 21 February. If businesses approve the proposal the expanded BID will come into effect on 1 April 2008.
SE1's other established BIDs are Better Bankside and the London Bridge BID Company.