Dear Kings Heath business,
As we approach the end of the BID ballot, it is a shame that we once more are having to deal with and respond to the lies being spread about the BID.
The deliberate conflation of the BID and the LTN is unhelpful, disingenuous and, as with everything else being said against the BID, littered with outright lies.
To be absolutely clear, yet again, the BID is not “pro-LTN” and has done more than any other organisation to support the business community of Kings Heath with respect to Birmingham City Council’s LTN scheme.
- Closing the BID will have no impact on the implementation of the LTN. Rather, businesses will lose their voice in dealing with the council.
- The BID has never undermined the business association, nor has it stopped the business association from campaigning against the BID’s renewal, as disappointing as this is.
- While the levy is increasing by 14.3%, this is actually an increase from 1.75% to 2%. This represents an average annual increase of £66, with over half of businesses paying less than an extra £40 per year.
- “The wardens will most likely be reduced from 6 to 3 days a week” is quite simply not true.
- The Town Centre Manager is not paid £50k per year.
- 59% of the BID levy is not paying for administration costs.
- The Board of Directors has not been sacked three times by BID members.
- Moreover, the BID as an institution is capable of carrying on no matter the make-up of the Board of Directors. Any eligible business representative can apply to join the Board of Directors.
- The BID has consulted with businesses about the LTN and continues to do so. No single business or organisation has responded to consultations in more depth than your BID.
- The BID has never criticised a local business association for campaigning against it.
- Once more: voting against the BID, will make no difference to the LTN, other than to give businesses no voice with respect to what has happened to date and what is yet to come.
In relation to statements made by former directors, the following things need to be made clear as well:
- 7 directors were elected to the Board at the 2020 AGM held on 30th March 2021, not 4 and they had not all resigned by the end of July 2021.
- The “background and status” of the case involving the former town centre manager was, and remains, subject to a confidentiality order and non-disclosure agreement. The small group of two current directors and one former director who are privy to the details would be breaking the law by discussing it.
- The BID did not pay “2-3 legal advisors”, rather they paid one legal firm, as was necessary, given the case brought against the BID.
- By upholding what is legal and by adhering to the Companies Act, these directors actually did act honestly, responsibly and with integrity.
- No director has ever been told that they cannot meet each other to discuss BID issues away from Board meetings. That is quite simply nonsense.
- There is no “inner house of Directors”, another absurd assumption.
- No director has ever been told that they must not express any opinion on the LTN. What has always been the case and what the Board has always been clear on is that Directors have a responsibility to uphold the BID Board’s view on any matters and to make it clear if any opinion they hold is their own, rather than the BID’s.
- No directors “wanted to appoint Lisa Trickett” to the Board. The Board followed the correct protocol by asking Birmingham City Council to select an appropriate councillor to join the Board. The council appointed Lisa Trickett. This is entirely in line with how every other BID in the city operates, not to mention the vast majority of BIDs nationally.
- A business survey was discussed and was, in fact published. Sadly, only a very small number of businesses responded.
- The BID has always sought value for money – and it is unfair to suggest that it has paid over the odds for planters and flowers. Historically – with hanging baskets, for example – the BID has used Birmingham City Council, but only because they are the only organisation with the capacity to install and maintain them. Currently, most of the BID’s plants come from a local business, which provides them at cost.
- While Wendy Bill was chair of the BID, she stated at a public meeting, which is still available to view on YouTube that “the BID has done nothing to support the businesses of Kings Heath.” This raised a clear conflict of interest, and despite several requests asking her to simply clarify what she meant – which would have allowed her to stay on the Board – she refused to do so, leaving the Board with no choice.
- The BID refutes in the strongest terms possible any allegations of bullying. All instances where this has been alleged have been investigated and dealt with appropriately.
Any comments in any flyers you may have received which raise the prospect of the reduction of services, whilst being fundamentally incorrect, need to be balanced with the fact that a vote against the BID will result in the loss of 100% of what we do to support every business in Kings Heath.