No news is good news as BID is living in the past

Warehouse theatre BID“A warm welcome to Croydon Town Centre”, the slick website of Croydon’s Business “Improvement” District says.

To illustrate this it is using a picture of the sadly missed Warehouse Theatre, which closed more than a year ago for lack of £30,000 when the council axed its grant. It says much about the state of Croydon town centre.

And how Croydon BID works.

This is, after all, the organisation which plasters messages of how dynamic a place for business Croydon happens to be, with posters all over the windows of the dark and empty Allders store.

The lame excuse offered by Croydon BID – the alliance of major firms centred around North End and the Whitgift Centre – for this piece of dull publicity, and the “There is no news” message on its “News” page, is that their site is undergoing a “redesign”.

What will the billionaire developers of the Hammersfield development think of it all?

Let’s hope nothing significant happens for Croydon business in the meantime, eh?

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1 Response to No news is good news as BID is living in the past

  1. If you want to see an example of a dynamic BID that has brought real benefits to the traders in its town centre, you need look no further than neighbouring Kingston.

    The BID there was the first in Britain and civil servants kept a beady eye on the way it was constituted. It nearly collapsed before it was launched because the traders paying the levy wanted some of the money used to improve the standard of lighting, security and street cleaning.

    Kingston Council was persistently reluctant to say how much it would spend on these services, making it impossible for the BID to know the basic level over which it was expected to meet costs.

    Central government “clarified” the situation for Kingston Council, as it did when the BID was initially minded to use a different contractor to do its share of the work.

    By contrast, Croydon’s BID had the dead hand of Croydon Council resting firmly on its shoulder from the outset. Croydon Business – a supposedly arms-length company, whose staff were “seconded” from and superannuated by the council – set up the BID, which worked out of Croydon Business’ offices in Park Street until the council finally dismantled the whole costly edifice.

    I have no idea how much influence the council still exerts on Croydon BID: suffice to say that Matt Sims, the current BID manager, was the life and soul of the business community when he ran Croydon Chamber of Commerce. He was a thorn in the side of Croydon Business, consistently beating it to the punch with initiatives to support smaller firms in particular.

    I note from the BID website that Matt heads a team of eight; that’s twice as many staff as there were at the chamber.

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