Issues raised concerning the Harborne Village BID ballot
The BID has intentionally not responded to the No campaign, choosing to instead publish the facts in the form of the Business Plan. However, we felt it was important that the numerous claims were addressed simply in a single communication.
A lot of the information in the anonymous No campaign literature is based on opinion and not fact.
Many of the issues raised have already been addressed in the Business Plan on pages 7&8, which is a section on Myth Busting. Other concerns raised are addressed below:
The BID is non-existent to the majority of businesses
Not true – the BID regularly communicates with 217 businesses via WhatsApp messaging, sends e-mailers regularly, responds to calls, emails and messages from businesses all requiring responses and support.
The BID reduces the demands on council services at the expense of the businesses.
Not true – the BID does not fund anything that the council would otherwise fund. BIDs provide additionality. The £11,000 quoted which paid for bins was not paid for out of BID levy monies, but additional funding which the BID secured through Birmingham City Council.
“Harborne BID does little more than maintain a hugely expensive website and social media page”
Not true – The business plan demonstrates the vast array of value adding projects the BID has undertaken.
“Don’t be surprised if the BID levy is increased in this new period”
The BID levy has been held at the same 2% of RV rate (see page 5 of the business plan – How is a BID funded).
Lack of transparency of how your money is being spent.
Not true – anyone requesting to see the finances of the BID have been “repeatedly” invited to come to the BID office and look at them. This has “repeatedly” been refused and despite this, the No campaign has continued to claim otherwise knowing it to be untrue.
Lack of consultation on the removal of on-street parking on the High St between Grays Rd & The Plough pub.
We’re unsure of exactly what this refers to – we can only surmise that it’s referring to the temporary removal of some parking for the Commonwealth Games, which not only was the BID not informed of, but neither were the local councillors or the local Highways engineer. Parking was immediately reinstated after the Games.
The campaign to get PSCO Such back onto Harborne High Street was nothing to do with the BID
As you will see from the quote in the business plan on page 21, Inspector Lee Trinder has been very clear that it was the partnership working between the BID and the police which influenced the local policing plan. In addition, the quoted figure of a 30% spike in crime when the PCSO left Harborne is unfounded, as these stats are not recognised by West Midlands Police.
Harborne High Street was more successful without the BID as seen by the increase in vacant premises.
The impact of a global pandemic has had a much greater influence than any BID could have had on vacancy levels. In fact, 40% of the 5 year BID term was during the pandemic. The BID did a huge amount of work to react and manage this unprecedented event (see pages 17-18 of the business plan).
The rules of this BID ballot are stacked against the NO campaign.
The rules of BIDs are based in government legislation which is in place to ensure consistency, fairness and a holding to account. There is no way that the BID, or any other group, can guarantee a yes (or indeed no) result. This is a transparent democratic ballot process undertaken by a third-party electoral service, to ensure just that.
The council have undue influence on the BID
Not true – the BID is a private company. The council cannot and does not influence the BID, if anything the BID influences the council. The BID, in line with most BIDs, has a council representative on the board giving direct access to information and support at a higher level within the council and getting action faster.
Hard to demonstrate the return on investment of the BID levy.
Yes, it can be. A BID uses its levy collectively to gain economies of scale and is able to deliver far more than an individual business. How do you demonstrate that the percentage that each business contributes to things like place making, security, Christmas lights, floral features, marketing, events etc, has not made a difference? How confident in this climate, can you be that sales would not have been worse without a BID?
The BID would not allow opposing views in the BID business plan.
Correct – any company business plan sets out the intentions of that business, in the case of the BID, over the next 5 years.
“Harborne BID’s 5 year plan to destroy your business”
Harborne BID is run by Harborne businesses for Harborne businesses.
The BID business plan proposes to remove all on-street parking
Not true – the business plan talks about exploring ways to improve the retail environment and increase dwell times as a direct response to the way that the pandemic has driven consumer behaviour. The BID does not have the power to make highway alterations, or indeed the funds. Any major changes would require a full consultation with businesses and the community.
The concepts discussed on pages 13 & 14 of the business plan are about having an eye on the future of Harborne. Everything the BID works for is to improve the trading environment now and in the future.
Kings Heath BID.
There have been multiple references to the Kings Heath BID throughout the no campaign literature. Like any area, Kings Heath operates according to the needs of its own business community and has no relevance to the Harborne ballot.
“DON’T BE FOOLED BY HARBORNE BID’s CLAIMS”
Everything in the BID business plan is factual. It has to be. The BID is governed by BID legislation.
Everything is transparent. Nothing is anonymous. The BID has given numerous opportunities for businesses to ask questions (regular visits, drop-in meetings, phone, email, WhatsApp).
Yes, you will find the BID Manager “busy attending meetings”, “representing businesses”, “keeping businesses informed of opportunities” and we make no apology for that. Everything the BID stands for is to deliver business improvement for Harborne to help you maximise trade opportunities.