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Businesses get BID vote on ‘London’s new epicentre’, as megaproject Crossrail brings £42 billion boost

Businesses in the design district of Farringdon & Clerkenwell, which are at the heart of the Crossrail megaproject, will today get the opportunity to vote on the launch of a new Business Improvement District (BID).

shutterstock_308387189Crossrail, which is set to bring £42 billion to London and the UK, is the most ambitious infrastructure project that the capital has undergone in more than a generation. The Farringdon and Clerkenwell area will become home to one of the most significant stations in the network enabling businesses in the area to take advantage of the opportunities this monumental project brings.

Backed by Islington, the GLA and TfL, the BID is set to give 100-plus businesses a direct voice in shaping the future of an area where footfall will triple in the next two years and as many as 150 trains an hour converge from the region’s North, South, East and West. Eventually, anywhere between 100,000 and 150,000 people a day from every point on the compass could be using the upgraded station of Farringdon – the only interchange of Crossrail and Thameslink linked to all of London’s key airports.

Two years ago, around 19 million passengers passed through the station every day. In ten years’ time that number could rise to anywhere between 27m and 41m per annum.

Tass Mavrogordato, who is leading this project, said: ”Farringdon & Clerkenwell has long been London’s design district, and the new BID will celebrate and preserve this innate character. In the advent of Crossrail, the BID will also enable businesses here to shape and direct growth so the area plays a full role alongside neighbours such as Tech City, Midtown, the Square Mile, the Barbican and the emerging new Cultural Quarter at Smithfield.”

The area is also home to a wealth of global mega brands including Starcom, MediaVest, Deloitte and Unilever as well as a location of choice for the fashion houses including Kurt Geiger and Alexander McQueen who have taken up HQs in the area.

From today (18 February 2016) until 17 March 2016 all of these businesses have the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ for the BID. If a majority back the first four years of the scheme, work begins in May 2016.

BID proposals include: nurturing the history and business strengths of London’s design district, maximising new opportunities as it becomes one of the capital’s best-connected hubs, lobbying for public space and security improvements and speaking with one voice on key London policies.

Councillor Asima Shaikh, executive member for economic and community development, Borough of Islington, said: ”I welcome the Business Improvement District for the Farringdon & Clerkenwell. The council is fully supportive of BIDs because they enable businesses to work together for the local economy and bring significant benefits to the local community including new employment and training.”

David McNeill, director of public affairs and stakeholder engagement, Transport for London said: “Crossrail and Thameslink will transform Farringdon and Clerkenwell. Fully open for business in 2019, we’ll see thousands of people benefitting from a larger, more accessible Farringdon station – one of the Capital’s best connected transport hubs. We look forward to working with Tass and her team to make the most of what this offers to this thriving business district.”

Alexander Jan, director at Arup added: “Establishing the area as a BID now will be pivotal in helping Farringdon prepare for these changes and maximise benefits to the local and central London economy. There is huge potential for local businesses to capitalise on the dynamism and energy that this influx of people will bring.”

Paolo Zilli, Senior Associate at ZHA, the world-renowned practice led by architect Zaha Hadid, based in Bowling Green Lane, said: ”The new BID will help Clerkenwell become a destination instead of a crossroads – and reinforce the area’s reputation for innovation and creativity.”

PrintMavrogordato added: “We want to work with the businesses to support the area’s growth as a destination for the creative and design industries, major cultural establishments as well as SMEs, and to explore ways to capture the new footflow and convert it to leisure spend, delivering substantial jobs and growth. The BID aims to celebrate the area’s assets and rich character and nurture this identity alongside shaping its growth and expansion. The detailed BID proposal will bring innovative solutions to everyday business needs, building competitive advantage for all who do business in the BID district.”