The Government has selected 22 locations across the UK to pilot Business Improvement Districts, ahead of the legislation that should allow BIDs to launch formally next year.
Manchester and Birmingham city centres, as well as London's Oxford Street, are the highest-profile retail pitches selected, but the pilots have been chosen from a wide range of locations to test whether the concept will work in different circumstances.
The Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) oversaw the selection process for the Government. Project manager Jacquie Reilly said there were 90 applications. 'We have chosen the sites to achieve a broad geographical spread,' she said.
The decision to pilot BIDs a year ahead of the formal implementation date means that, as soon as the law permits, some UK sites will be ready to conduct a ballot of local businesses. If the businesses agree, the BID teams will be able to take over responsibility for street cleaning, security and marketing in the area, funded by a compulsory levy on local businesses.
Reilly added: 'We need to begin the process of educating the business electorate now. If businesses don't vote for BIDs, they won't happen.'
To achieve consent, BIDs need to be able to make a robust business case, and Reilly said the pilot process will allow the ATCM to identify best practice in this area.
The list is Bedford, Birmingham, Blackpool, Brandon, Bristol, Bromley, Coventry, Ealing, Greenwich, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hull, Keswick, Warwickshire, Lincoln, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford Street, Peterborough, Plymouth, Reading, Newquay and Swansea.