Resident engagement with Destination City and the new BID – official advice

In January I attended a City-wide Residents meeting with the City Corporation, and asked the chair of policy Chris Hayward how we could best engage with developments planned in the north west cultural district of the Square Mile. Here’s the exchange.

The Destination City programme is taking over much of the work of the Culture Mile team, and a new Business Improvement District starts operations this month.

Since I asked the question the City has launched a £150,000 Residential Reset to better engage with the 8000 people living in the City, but is dropping Ward newsletters.

I’ve now had a response from Chris Hayward:

“I am writing in response to your question raised at the City-wide Residents meeting on 11th January regarding how residents can best engage with the new arrangements of Destination City and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

“Thank you for raising this issue, we know this is important and will ensure it is central to Destination City. Regarding the Destination City resident strategy, a stakeholder framework for residents is currently in development to map out communication channels to reach various audiences. Resident communication will continue to take place in the lead up to big events – as was the case for The Golden Key for example, with letter drops and newsletters. Additionally, a new Member who resides within the City will join the City Envoy Network to represent the collective views of residents.

“BIDs are independent organisations, so the City of London Corporation does not hold the authority to require BIDs to have formal engagement mechanisms, but I very much agree that it is important that residents can engage with them. As I meet representatives of BIDs in the City, I will ensure to emphasise the importance of keeping our residents engaged.

“You can contact all of the BIDs via the websites below. In addition, the Aldgate and Culture Mile BIDs have established resident engagement frameworks or are in the process of doing so:

“I hope this information is helpful to you, please do not hesitate to contact your local BIDs and elected Ward Members for further information”.

The response suggests that at this stage it is up to residents who may be interested in any developments to make their own enquiries, pending engagement programmes offered by Destination City and the new BID.

I can understand this as a holding reply, but hope that in the not too distant future we’ll see something more co-ordinated and pro-active – particularly since Ward Newsletters won’t offer a channel. They have been the one form of direct communication from elected members to their constituents.

I’ll check whether the Destination City envoy has been appointed.

Update – one more initiative. The City has announced that there will be a £650,000 ‘cultural transformation’ of Smithfield led by the Museum of London. Looks promising, but no consultation, and nothing beyond a news release so far. I’m trying to find out more.


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