Five-year business plan to transform Bristol city centre unveiled - plus idea for new Christmas event

Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District has set out its business case

Business chiefs have unveiled their multi-million pound gameplan to transform Bristol city centre over the next five years.

The Bristol City Centre BID (Business Improvement District) has been working to improve the area since 2017, investing £5.5million back into the city through its levy-paying businesses, projects and grants.

The boost has allowed for the delivery of new events, as well as for old favourites to continue - such as the Bristol Light Festival, Hearts in Parks, Christmas Adventures and the annual festive light switch-on.

A seven-days-a-week cleansing team to remove graffiti and clean shop frontages has also been introduced, along with the set up of Bristol’s first Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP).

A Business Improvement District is a defined area in which a levy is charged on all business rate payers in addition to the business rates bill. This levy is used to develop projects which will benefit businesses there.

Five-year plan

In the new business plan, the BID said it would build on successes of the last five years as well as identifying new ways to deliver ‘a better Bristol’, under four key themes; enhancing, protecting, promoting and supporting.

A seven-day-a-week street cleansing service has been introduced and will continue to run.

Enhancing by delivering projects that attract investment and talent, create a greener, cleaner and more attractive city centre, including:

  • Annual Bristol Light Festival to drive footfall at an otherwise quieter time of the year to deliver economic impact for city centre businesses
  • Events and activities that attract new audiences and create reasons to spend leisure time in the city
  • Help equip businesses to reduce environmental impact on their journey to Net Zero 
  • Fund and deliver Light Up Christmas with festive lighting and events to support retail and hospitality
  • Continued seven-day-a-week street cleansing service
Members of the BID at the groups’ renewal event.

Protecting by investing to reduce, challenge and raise awareness of crime and anti-social behaviour to protect city centre businesses, visitors and residents both day and night:

  • Further development of Business Crime Reduction Partnership to bring together the police, businesses and city council in addressing crime 
  • Improve connectivity to deliver collective and connected responses for businesses
  • Continue a dedicated Streetwise Support Officer and TAP, helping homeless, for Bristol 
  • Support night-time economy by representing their voice to influence city-wide strategy  
  • Challenge negative perceptions and raise awareness of continual efforts to increase safety in the city centre

Promoting with a collaborative approach to delivering innovative campaigns, events, activations and communications to promote Bristol:

  • Engage and attract consumers to support footfall and sales in levy paying businesses 
  • Highlight benefits of working in the city to attract and retain staff for levy paying businesses 
  • Promote achievements of levy payers to the wider business community and consumers 
  • Add value to each business sector by supplementing promotional activity and showcasing Bristol businesses
Christmas lights on Park Street as part of Light Up Christmas.

Supporting by acting as a single point of contact to represent levy payers, leverage investment, influence strategy and support the business community:

  • Represent levy payers’ voice by targeting and engaging key groups that will best benefit and provide representation at strategic planning meetings 
  • Cost saving procurement to deliver services and systems at reduced costs
  • Sponsorship fund to invest or sponsor opportunities that would make a difference to businesses and the city centre
  • Leverage investment through partnership working and seeking opportunities through grants, sponsorship and central government funding 

The plan has been written as part of Bristol City Centre BID’s journey towards renewal this September, when levy paying businesses will be asked to vote for the future of the BID.

‘A better Bristol for all’

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID said:“Over the last five years, we have introduced and delivered projects that address business needs and increase footfall and visitors to the city centre, supporting businesses through some very challenging times, and we want to do even more in our second term.

“We have a fantastic opportunity over the next five years to build on our successes and further support city centre Now businesses on the road to recovery and beyond, by connecting and representing the business community, delivering projects and partnerships that help improve safety, and by shining a light on our city for tourism, education, and investment.

Vicky Lee, head of the Bristol City Centre BID.

“Our vision is a better Bristol for all,  a city where businesses can thrive, people want to live, work and visit, a city that is safe for all to enjoy whatever time of day or night, and a place that is welcoming and appealing to everyone.

“This is what our business plan promises to deliver and what a second term of Bristol City Centre BID will mean for the city centre and it’s businesses.”