I apology for the delay on this report. As usual when I attend the Clapham Junction Town Centre Partnership (business associations) meeting, I give a quick feedback on some specific points that were discussed.
End of funding for the business organisation
The main and starting point of the meeting was the Economic Development Office explaining that decision has been made by Wandsworth Council to remove funding for the business organisations of each town centres in the borough.
The financial year 2014-15 will be a transition time for the Town Centre initiative as the financial cover provided by the Council (about £100,000 for each of the 5 town centres per year) will stop after April 2015.
Due to financial restrictions the Council has decided that the different town centre business organisations needed to move to self funding. In order to achieve that, several solutions are suggested:
- Setting up of a Business Improvement District (BID) for each area where 1-2% of the business rate value of each business participating will go to fund the organisation.
- Voluntary membership scheme / Voluntary contributions
Business votes will also be counted in portion of the business rate contribution (therefore big business will have more weight in the vote).
The Council is going to contract a firm to provide support for a BID within the next couple of months. The first step will be the need to demonstrate what a BID can achieve (security, marketing, public realm…).
The state of new paving on St Johns Road was already discussed last August. Again business and residents are complaining about the very dirty state of the paving (see our article). The Council says they have no budget for water pressure cleaning (and therefore no progress was made). However they are trying the possibility of applying a sealant on the new pavement and could spread it on large areas if trials show good results.
Implementation of the “Behave or be Banned” proposed by the police
With the scheme, people arrested (not convicted!) for shop-lifting and criminal offence will be automatically banned from shops (their photo will be displayed on a website and shops will be able to consult who is on the list to ban them from entering the shop). The maximum sentence could be a life-ban!