Aberdeen Inspired issues call for businesses to sign up

14/11/2023

ABERDEEN Inspired has issued a rallying call to businesses to sign up as voluntary levy payers and help to drive improvements and fresh investment in the city centre. 

As the city’s Business Improvement District (BID), Aberdeen Inspired was established to attract, sustain and boost investment in Aberdeen’s city centre for the benefit of both its levy payers and all those who live, work, shop and visit there.

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Around 700 organisations, which sit within the BID footprint, currently invest in protecting and enhancing the diversity, vibrancy and safety of the city centre through an annual levy payment of just 1% of their rateable value.

However, the recent rates revaluation has reduced Aberdeen Inspired’s funding by 30%, squeezing resources at a time when there is much to be done to revive and reinvent the city centre.

Chief executive Adrian Watson said BIDs are able to recruit a limited number of voluntary levy payers whose premises are outside the city centre footprint.

“Every organisation benefits from a better city centre and, in the face of dramatic cuts, we are asking businesses outwith the footprint to consider supporting the revival and reinvention of Aberdeen city centre by becoming voluntary levy payers,” he said.

“Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire can only stand out as an attractive, worthwhile place to visit, study, live and work if it has a vibrant and appealing city centre that is rich in culture, retail and entertainment. With the help of extra levy papers, we can continue to support the ongoing rejuvenation and reinvention of our city centre.”

Already more than £2million in additional funding, which would otherwise not have been available to invest in the city centre, has been secured by Aberdeen Inspired. This means that for every £1 of each levy collected, more than £2 is reinvested in the city centre. 

Aberdeen Inspired delivers significant value, including attracting major events to Aberdeen, such as the 2023 European Pipe Band Championships, the Tall Ships in 2025 and the internationally acclaimed street art festival, Nuart, which brings in £10million of marketing value and attracts 30,000 visitors each year.

Aberdeen Restaurant Week and a bigger and better Christmas Village have inspired residents and visitors and provided a welcome boost to the city centre economy.

Dramatic improvements to neglected or derelict spaces have included the new Aberdeen letters – currently lighting up Union Terrace Gardens – suspended street lighting, the colourful ADHD Foundation umbrellas on Shiprow and the parklets on Huntly Street and Holburn Junction.

The BID also influences and engages with Aberdeen City Centre Council on the capital improvements to deliver the City Centre Masterplan, while an emergency summit to tackle the demise of Union Street led to the creation of Our Union Street – a partnership between Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and ONE – which is wholly focused on enhancing and attracting people and business back to the Granite Mile.

City centre safety is also a priority, with Aberdeen holding Purple Flag status for 10 years in a row. The BID has recently reconvened and chairs the City Centre Safety Group.

With additional support, future improvements could include the addition of new events and festivals, including a major music festival and an Aberdeen Film Festival, as well as further enhancement of Nuart and Spectra so they can deliver wider legacy projects across the city. 

The illumination of the city centre with creative street lighting, sparkling buildings and animation, particularly in the darker months, is also on the list, along with new quirky and attractive green spaces and parklets that encourage people to linger longer.

Mr Watson added: “Voluntary levy payments would not only help deliver these and improve the city centre’s look and feel, but also support the hundreds of micro and small independent businesses who make up the diverse and vibrant city centre experience and employ hundreds of local people.

“We are very grateful to our existing levy payers and voluntary levy payers and would encourage others to invest in the city centre to bring clear benefits for everyone.”

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