With the potential for a Cardiff Business Improvement District, I visited an area of Londonthat has chosen to invest in its own BID to see the impact it can make. The Victoria Business Improvement District (BID) was set up 5 years ago by the local businesses. The majority of businesses voted to add on a small percentage of their rateable value in order to gather ring-fenced funds to pay for the improvement works in Victoria. The aim is to improve Victoria for everyone who works, lives or visits there.
The project began by identifying opportunities in the locality. These could be areas for greening or improving biodiversity, or available spaces for community projects. I wandered round Victoria and found the examples in the gallery above. (Whilst I am not entirely sure if they are all examples from the business improvement district, they are still good ideas for our capital city.)
Some examples are:
- the ivy wall outside Victoria Station opposite the Hilton Hotel. The view used to be of a storage area for the station, but has now been shielded from view behind the smart green evergreen ivy wall.
- an expansive green wall now clothes the once bare wall of a hotel close to Buckingham Palace on a busy interchange in central London. The greenery has been shown to reduce heat loss from the hotel, but it must also be reducing the noise pollution from the road way and filtering the air, reducing pollution levels.
- increasing biodiversity by providing a more interesting ground cover than simple amenity grassland in a small corner beside Buckingham Palace. The groundcover now contains flowering bulbs and perennials to provide a small pocket of space for bees and insects.
London Victoria BID is a formula that could work well for local business areas in Cardiff, concentrating on the business areas of the city centre, but it could easily be replicated for Roath (City Road, Cwrys Road and Albany Road), Splott (Clifton Street) Canton (Cowbridge Road East) or Pontcanna (Cathedral Road).
Future plans for the Victoria BID area…