Cheapside has become one of The City of London’s most prestigious shopping destinations, offering visitors a fusion of contemporary shops and restaurants –transforming the area into a seven day destination. No other shopping, business and visitor location can compare with Cheapside, set against a backdrop of one of the most historic parts of London and surrounded by world-famous landmarks.
Once a medieval trading market, Cheapside has transformed into a first class retail location. This retail revolution represents a major business opportunity, anchored by two major retail hubs – One New Change and Royal Exchange. This has been further complemented over the last five years with over nine new developments providing home to a number of high profile corporate occupiers. This is set to be further enhanced with the redevelopment of the former Bucklers bury House – The Bloomberg Place Project. This exciting new development will include the development of two office buildings: a bespoke headquarters building for Bloomberg LP of approximately 515, 000 sq. ft. and a speculative building of approximately 230,000 sq. ft. on a three-acre site located in The City of London. The site is bounded by Cannon Street Queen Victoria Street, Walbrook and Queen Streets. The project completion date is scheduled for the end of 2016.
In recent times, Cheapside has seen an unprecedented level of redevelopment which has not only changed the face of the local retail, and leisure offer but it is fast becoming the destination of choice for even more high profile corporates, investors and developers. This demonstrates the area is a prime location in London as a unique place to do business.
The City of London Corporation in partnership with the Cheapside Business Alliance have developed a Business Alliance Proposal which sets out how the business community will work together on a number of projects to be implemented over the next five years. The business vehicle which has been implemented to enable the business alliance to work together is a Business Improvement District.
What is a Business Alliance?
A Business Alliance is a geographical area in which the local businesses have voted to invest collectively to improve their environment. Services could include extra safety, cleaning or environmental measures. Business Alliance’s are business-led organisations funded by a mandatory levy on all eligible businesses following a successful ballot.
Business Alliances by their very nature promote a collective working approach that allows businesses direct influence over the activity delivered over the lifetime of the Business Alliance. The Mayor and GLA strongly endorse the concept of Business Alliances and their role in the ‘place shaping’ agenda.
Each Business Alliance’s mandate is tailored according to the specific needs of their area, however generally speaking there are common themes such as:
- Business Alliance levy money is ring-fenced for use only in the Business Alliance area
- Businesses guide what they want for the area
- Business cost reduction, for example reduced crime and joint procurement
Mediate with Local Councils, Transport for London, the Police and other public bodies
- Increased footfall and staff retention
- Place promotion
A Business Alliance for Cheapside has been proposed by the City of London Corporation guided by the views of the business community. It has been financed and delivered in partnership with the commercial sector, providing additional activities which are not provided by the local authority.
The City of London Corporation will act as the Business Alliance proposer, and the Business Alliance body responsible for delivering the Business Plan and ensuring a transparent process is established to monitor spend and measure success. It will also be responsible for collecting the Business Alliance levy.
However Business Alliances are guided by the business community, working as a collective voice. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been agreed between business and the City of London Corporation setting out the collaborative arrangements which will be put in place to ensure delivery of the Business Plan.
Businesses in the Business Alliance area will continue to receive all usual local authority services in addition to the measures identified in the Business Plan. All Business Alliance activity will be measured against Key Performance Indicators so that impact can be recorded and reported back to member businesses at our AGM.
The rules for the Business Alliance levy are as follows:
The Business Alliance levy will be based upon the rateable value of the Hereditament in the 2010 Rating List. The Business Alliance levy will be calculated based on the Hereditament rateable value in the 2010 Rating List ; In the event that there is no such rateable value, the Business Alliance levy will be calculated using the 2017 Rating List.
- The levy will assume a growth rate for inflation of 2.5% applied on 1st April each year. As the Business Alliance will commence on the 11th May 2015, the inflationary rate will be applied from 1st April 2016.
- The term of the Business Alliance will be for a period of 4 years and 11 months (from 11th May 2015 to 31st March 2020).
- The Business Alliance levy will be applied to all ratepayers with a rateable value equal to or greater than £180,000. Where there is no rateable value data available for new businesses established within the Business Alliance boundary, the rateable value from when the hereditament is first valued will be used. When revised data is available, adjustments to Business Alliance levy payments will be backdated accordingly and the ongoing Business Alliance levy payable recalculated. Should a property’s rateable value fall below the £180k threshold at any time, the Business Alliance levy will no longer be charged.
- All hereditaments with charitable status and in receipt of mandatory charitable relief from business rates will be exempt from paying the Business Alliance levy.
- The owners of empty hereditaments will be liable for the Business Alliance levy with no void period allowed (Listed empty properties, however, will be exempt from paying the Business Alliance levy)
- There will be no VAT charged on the Business Alliance levy
- The levy per hereditament will be capped at £3,750.00. Note: Where one business has more than one hereditament located within the same building the levy will be capped at £3,750. Should a business operate from more than one business address and have multiple hereditaments, the levy charged will be capped per building.
It is proposed that the Business Alliance’s management and overhead costs are met firstly through the voluntary contributions generated by the Business Alliance, minimizing as much as possible a commitment from the Business Alliance levy funds.
The Executive Team
The Business Alliance will be supported by an executive team made up of an Executive Director, an Operations Manager and an Administrator contracted by the City of London Corporation to undertake the number of hours required.
It is proposed that the executive team and associated costs, are met using the voluntary contributions received and with any shortfall made up from core levy generated. This enables all or the majority of levy generated to be spent on Business Alliance activity.
The Business Alliance Board and Business Alliance Governance
The Cheapside Business Alliance Board is a voluntary board made up of 10-12 director-level representatives from the different sectors that make up the Business Alliance levy paying community. Observers will be invited from Bank Churches and City of London Police.
The chairperson will be nominated by the Board on a 2-year basis with services on the Board from all directors, made on a voluntary basis. To oversee the project delivery five strategic theme groups. The groups represent the wider levy paying community and all representatives volunteer their time to attend quarterly meetings.
This will commit the City and the Board jointly to strive and collaborate to implement the Business Plan efficiently and effectively.
The City’s Cheapside Business Alliance representatives (who will include a Ward Member and an experienced officer)meet the Business Alliance Board at least quarterly, and that the Board also meet the theme groups on a quarterly basis, with a wider Annual General Meeting of Business Alliance Levy payers once a year. The Business Alliance finances will be independently audited and reviewed each year and this will be presented at the AGM.