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Councillors to discuss future of Aberdeen Inspired

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A meeting is being held today to discuss the future of Aberdeen’s business improvement district body.

Aberdeen Inspired was introduced in 2011, when eligible city centre businesses voted in favour of establishing a BID.

Since then, the group has worked to build value for the city and support local firms and has also organised a number of events over the years, such as Inspired Nights, Nuart and the annual Christmas Village.

It is required to apply for permission to continue every five years. Councillors will discuss the proposals at an urgent business committee today.

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They have been recommended not to veto the proposals – which is one of the options open to it.

If this is approved, a renewal ballot will take place on March 25.

Aberdeen Inspired generates an estimated income of around £980,000 per year from its levy payers.

A report, which will be discussed by councillors when they meet today, said: “The need for a Business Improvement District (BID) in the heart of the city has never been greater. Aberdeen Inspired has been both nationally and internationally recognised for its strategic and collaborative approach, and there has never been a time where it has been more needed in being that positive voice for Aberdeen city centre and rallying partners and businesses in bringing the city centre through the recovery stage.

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“The BID can continue to work with partners across the private, public and third sectors in bringing in more pedestrian-friendly areas through the Aberdeen City Centre Partnership, thus meeting green emission targets and making the city centre a more attractive destination.

“Recently the BID supported the local authority’s successful bid to Nestrans to introduce the most ambitious ‘Spaces for People’ programme of any town or city centre in the country, to essentially allow the city centre to open up safely.  With the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) now complete, it is clear there is less vehicular traffic needlessly coming into the city centre and this presents opportunity as we re-vision the city centre space.

“When safe to do so, levy payers continue to crave large scale and events being brought to the city centre. The BID leads on, amongst others, the Christmas Festival, the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival, Nuart International Street Art Festival, Aberdeen Restaurant Weeks and the Inspired Nights Street Food/Music event.

“However the BID has an ambition to build on this in the next term, again positioning Aberdeen as a ‘go-to’ destination which will help our visitor economy, as we look to diversify in the wake of the oil & gas decline.

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“The BID has been very successful in pulling in funding for many of the events from both public and private funding streams, with potential to do much more in the next term. It is seen as a key cultural partner on the north-east of Scotland.”

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