Improving Fulham’s local economy was top of the agenda at a meeting of local businesses last week.
The area’s shops, firms and restaurants met with councillors to consider setting up a new association that might better coordinate activities and strengthen the appeal of the area around Fulham Broadway.
The consultation meeting at Stamford Bridge discussed forming a business improvement district (BID) in Fulham.
Chaired by Brenhan Magee of the Fulham Broadway Bar & Grill, the assembled traders and retailers were joined by Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Stephen Cowan and Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration.
Cllr Stephen Cowan said: “We aspire to be the best council for business in the country and that applies to small and large businesses alike.
“We all rely on local entrepreneurs and businesses to make the area around Fulham Broadway an important and vibrant neighbourhood so we want to work much more closely with them. Getting the right type of BID might well be the way forward and if that’s what people want we will support them.
“As we aspire to bring in more customers, particularly during the day, we want to build something up that is economically and culturally important and improves Fulham for all”.
There are around 50 BIDs in the capital, each funded by a small local annual levy on rateable value.
Potentially, a Fulham Broadway BID could raise more than £2m over a five-year period, with the businesses themselves deciding how the money is spent.
The businesses which gathered at the Chelsea Football Club museum on Monday (3 October) heard that a BID, operated by and for businesses, would aim to improve the area’s trading environment.
The target is to refresh and reinvigorate Fulham Broadway and attract new customers at a time of major change, with the football club poised to temporarily relocate as stadium redevelopment work takes place.
A Fulham BID would, said Mr Magee, bring in ‘new shoppers’ and ‘establish the area as a prime retail and leisure destination in its own right’.
Nick Redmond, group account director at the Ignis brand engagement company in North End Road, is looking forward to the effect a BID could have in empowering businesses in the Fulham Broadway area.
“At Ignis we have been part of the community since 1991 and have seen the area grow and develop into a vibrant and diverse centre,” he said. “We are very excited about the opportunity a BID will bring to the Fulham area to create a destination that promotes the growth of business, retailers and community alike.”
A BID would also organise festivals and events, supported by an active marketing programme.
Working with the council
The Means BID Consultancy, which specialises in setting up BIDs, has been commissioned by businesses including Chelsea FC to explore the feasibility of a Fulham Broadway association, in collaboration with the council.
Giles Semper from The Means, a former editorial director of the Hammersmith-based HarperCollins, explained that the next step would be to cast a wider net to discuss the benefits of forming a BID.
“We’ll shortly be talking to more businesses in the Fulham Broadway area about the issues that a BID might address,” he said, adding that a future event would be staged to keep business partners up to date.
Among the other businesses already interested are: The Butcher’s Hook, The Jam Tree, Broadway London, La Reserve Hotel, The Malt House, McDonald’s, Candy Kittens, Delaziz, NatWest, Elk Bar, Wagamama and Chelsea FC.