Business Park Investment Boost

all businesses on the estate must make cash contributions to pay for improvements

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Companies on the Garratt Business Park have approved radical plans to turn the area into a Business Improvement District (BID). The business community put the investment plan forward themselves and the council has supported their proposal.

The estate is private property meaning the council is not responsible for its upkeep. Instead the resident businesses joined together to form a management company to maintain the area, Garratt Business Park Management Limited (GBPML).

The company’s work has been funded by voluntary contributions from its members, supplemented by grants from Wandsworth Council, the London Development Authority (LDA), Soloman and Transport for London (TfL).

GBPML has delivered a series of improvements but a secure long-term source of investment is required for the estate to achieve it’s potential and attract new business.

Turning the park into a BID provides the answer. This would mean all of the businesses on the estate would be compelled to make regular contributions to regeneration work and the council would take over the collection of the payments.

Wandsworth’s economic development office arranged a ballot where all 69 businesses affected by the plan had the chance to vote on whether to approve the new measures. Over 90% voted yes and the plan was approved.

The BID will last for 5 years and will generate £240,000 of additional funding. The council will start collecting the additional rates from April 2009. GBPML will spend the money on raft of improvements that will increase the area’s value and appeal. They include road upgrades, new signage, estate cleaning, flood protection works, new CCTV and improvements to the Garratt Business Park website.

Wandsworth’s regeneration spokesman, Cllr James Cousins, explains that the council fully supports this move:
“ Garratt Park business community have a shared vision for the area and are taking the steps necessary to make that vision a reality. Their investment is another vote of confidence in Wandsworth's position to weather a difficult recession and will leave them well placed when recovery comes.

Our borough’s unique blend of strengths is giving local business a vital edge – not least its low council tax, central location and highly trained workforce. This move sets an excellent example for other business parks and industrial estates to follow. The improved infrastructure will encourage further investment in local business premises and increase the appeal of the area to new developers.”

December 22, 2008