18th January 2023
Dear Kings Heath Business,
When we last wrote to you in November, it was with the sad news that the BID was due to finish at the end of its current term in March this year.
We immediately had a large amount of feedback from many people who were suddenly concerned about the impact that this would have on their businesses, from the lack of Christmas lights (as we sadly saw in December) to the loss of our vital high street security team, not to mention the impending loss of the @enjoykingsheath social media channels and the representation that the BID provides to the police, Birmingham City Council and others.
With that in mind and taking into serious consideration all of the feedback that Directors and staff have received over the last month or so, the BID Board has decided to hold another ballot, asking you all to consider once more the benefits that the BID brings and the importance of seeing it continue for another five years.
We, the BID Board, appreciate that, for some, this will not be a popular decision, but we firmly believe that the 71 votes cast against renewing the BID in October 2022 do not represent the view of the majority of you and we will be doing our utmost in the coming months to convince you all that renewing the BID is the best thing for the Kings Heath business community and for the Kings Heath community at large.
We will be making some changes to our plans for 2023-2028, which you will see in an updated set of BID Proposals in the next month or so, but in short, the key messages from us to you are as follows:
- Yesterday (17th January), Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet voted to proceed with phase 2 of the LTN in Kings Heath. Clearly, this demonstrates that the BID is not connected to the LTN scheme, but now, more than ever, businesses need a voice that Birmingham City Council will listen to.
- Kings Heath Business Association is being taken in a direction that many businesses are unhappy with. The BID is the ONLY option for representing business views back to Birmingham City Council impartially and without resorting to rhetoric on this and all matters that are important to our business community.
- The BID Board has decided to reverse the decision taken five years ago, when Stan Hems was a Director of the BID, to include schools in the BID. We will, however, continue to work closely with all of the schools in and near to the BID area, providing them with services commensurate to what their levies would have been.
- We will also revert to the existing BID Boundary and encourage the small number of businesses between the high street and Kings Heath Park to become voluntary members of the BID.
- We have elected a new Chair and are continuing to bring in new Directors to the BID to freshen up the dynamics and diversity of the Board and strongly believe that asking Birmingham City Council to maintain its representation on the Board (as a levy payer) solidifies our partnership with the Council.
- We acknowledge the huge amount of support that the BID, our high street and your businesses have within our resident community and will endeavour to build on that support to keep our high street as the best in Birmingham.
- Between now and the end of March, the BID will pro-actively counter any lies that you might read about it, for example, the ongoing falsehood that, somehow, the BID is “pro-LTN”.
- Equally, we will ensure that any smear campaigns carried out against any Directors, staff or supporters of the BID will be dealt with by the appropriate authorities. The behaviour of a small number of individuals online, and in person, over the last three to six months is already being investigated by the police and the BID will fully support their efforts.
So, what will happen next? In around a month’s time you (or your company’s voter) will receive a “Notice of Ballot” letter, along with an updated set of BID Proposals. We would urge you to re-read those and to cast your vote accordingly when the ballot papers arrive at the start of March.
Also, please consider carefully how true other letters or social media posts that you might see are, and question anything you are uncertain about before casting your vote, but please ensure that your company’s vote is cast. With less than 300 votes in total, every vote really does count.
Thank you for taking the time to read this important letter. If you have any questions, thoughts, ideas or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Matt or one of the BID Directors.
The Board of Kings Heath BID