The scheme, which helps to promote the town centre and keep people buying locally, has led to a series of packages and promotions. It has been funded to the tune of £500,000 a year through contributions from businesses based in the town centre and donations from other organisations.
The ballot on its future takes place from February 26 to March 26. All current levy payers will have a vote.
Bedford-based businesses of all sizes are backing BedfordBID’s renewal. Bedford College is a leading supporter and now buys only BedfordBID gift vouchers as staff and student rewards, ensuring the money is spent only in Bedford.
Smaller retailers have seen benefits including the Bluecaps, who patrol the streets helping visitors and keeping the town centre safe.
Don Gillett, of the Art Centre and Gallery, said: “BedfordBID definitely benefits retail businesses. The Bluecaps are helpful with visitors and are like ‘The Google’ of the town centre.”
Bedford Borough Council is backing the BID, both as a property owner in the town centre by paying into the fund and by making extra donations to assist businesses in Bedford. Mayor Chris Hodgson and chief executive Philip Simpkins both attend BedfordBID board meetings.
Executive director Mo Aswat, who runs the BID with a small office team funded by voluntary contributions from big organisations, said: “A No vote means all services offered by the BID such as the Bluecaps, Retail Radiolink, special graffiti cleaning, BedfordBID vouchers and promotions such as Indulge in Bedford and www.comearound-tobedford.co.uk will cease to exist.”
Kerry Cash, of 5th Avenue Hair & Beauty Spa, said: “BedfordBID does an excellent job in promoting businesses in the town centre, raises the profile of the town and constantly comes up with new ideas to attract customers. The voucher scheme has been a great idea and has certainly brought us new clients.”
Kay Girling, of Allders Opticians, added: “It is vital for businesses to work together to keep customers happy and coming back for more.”