By Jason Theodorou

Local businesses have helped to improve the London Bridge area, through five years of investment in a Business Improvement District (BID). Rate paying firms within the London Bridge area have agreed to provide the funds for extra police patrols, business networking activities and street cleaning operations.

The work is carried out by Team London Bridge, a limited company independent of the Council and 'complimentary' to services already provided by the Council and the Police. The company identifies services which are being funded by business rates, and step in on behalf of local business owners to enhance these services when they fall short of expectations. At least 78% of the levy imposed on local businesses by the BID goes directly towards improving London Bridge.

Team London Bridge has arranged for more police to patrol in the local area. Chief Superintendent Wayne Chance of Southwark Police said: “Southwark Police’s partnership with Team London Bridge has enabled us to forge closer links with the business community. Our officers visit around 15 London Bridge businesses per week and the additional patrol hours help us deliver a service that understands the needs of local businesses.”

David McNeill, Director of Transport for London, said: 'BIDs are key to the transformation of their local town centres. Team London Bridge is a fantastic example of what a well-organised BID can achieve when working in partnership with London agencies'.

BIDS are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, seen as a way for businesses to improve the environment in which their employees work in a convenient way. Since 2008, over 60 BIDS have been established across England, Wales and Scotland. Newquay is expected to establish a BID in 2011.