Business & Entrepreneurs

‘Continuation of our work for a further term will be a fitting memorial to David’

By Ian Marland at

Byres Road traders and businesses have been urged to back their representative group for a second term.

A ballot is now under way to decide whether the area’s ‘BID’ team should continue for another five years.

A new business plan for Byres Road and The Lanes business improvement district (BID) was launched recently.

BYRES ROAD

A ballot is under way to decide whether the group should continue

Chairman John Turner said the group had achieved many things and given a voice to businesses.

In his introduction, John paid tribute to the group’s former chairman David Howat, who died last March.

He said David’s “passion and energy was so instrumental in the foundation and ongoing work of the BID”.

“A proud Westender born and bred, David’s wit, charm and love for the area, its businesses and people shone through in all he did, and his sudden loss to us in March 2019 was a huge blow.

“Hardly a week goes by without my asking myself, ‘What would David have done here….’

“More than anything else, the continuation of the BID for a further term will be a fitting memorial to him.”

Byres Road is set to undergo major changes over the next two years under a £9m ‘improvement scheme’ funded by the Scottish and Westminster governments (City Deal).

A plan to cut the number of parking bays to make way for a cycle lane has been controversial.

DAVID HOWAT

David Howat was a former chairman of the BID group

Against this background, the BID team undertook a four-month consoltation exercise with the area’s 200 businesses about its plans.

The business plan highlights the priorities of local traders. These are:

• Availability of parking

• Working with the Council to ensure that the City Deal improvements to Byres Road are delivered with minimal disruption to business

• Working with the council to ensure that quality streetscape proposals are delivered

• Working with the Council, Landlords and others to encourage new businesses into vacant spaces on Byres Road & the Lanes

• Marketing and advertising campaigns (82%)

• The BID acting as a point of contact with the Council and its contractors during the construction phase of the City Deal works on Byres Road (81%)

• The BID providing a unified voice for businesses at both local and central government level, and to other organisations

A launch event at Refuweegee on Byres Road heard about some of BID’s achievements in its first five years.

A programme of annual events – the Christmas Festival and the Cinema in the Botanics – have been established, drawing in thousands of visitors.

Byres Road

A launch event was attended by representatives and local businesses

The area has been extensively promoted on social media platforms.

Businesses have also been represented in discussions about City Deal improvements and the development of the new university campus.

For all these services, members pay a levy to the BID on top of the usual rates and rent.

John said: “The Business Plan has been published ahead of a ballot which opens today, the 14th of February, where businesses in the BID area will decide whether they wish to see the BID continue for another five years.

“The postal ballot closes on the 27th March with the result being announced early the following week.”