BUSINESSES have backed an initiative that will see more than £2 million invested into Birkenhead town centre over the next five years.

The business improvement district (BID) was secured after 85.1% of businesses participating in the postal ballot voted in favour of the scheme.

Over the last 12 months Wirral Chamber of Commerce has been working in partnership with Wirral Council and local businesses on a campaign to introduce a BID.

It aims to return Birkenhead to a vibrant, dynamic and prosperous town by delivering a framework for regeneration and encouraging economic development.

There are currently more than 200 business improvement districts operating across the UK.

Councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, was delighted at the positive outcome of the ballot.

He said: "The business community in Birkenhead has spoken and they overwhelmingly supported the BID.

“As a council dedicated to bringing business back to our town centres and high streets, we congratulate Birkenhead business owners on becoming the first on Wirral to step up and play an active role in rejuvenating the town. I hope this encourages other BID programmes across Wirral."

This view was endorsed by Alastair Gould, chair of the BID steering group and director of Birkenhead based accountants McEwan Wallace.

He said: “We are overjoyed that businesses in the town have recognised the benefits a BID could bring. By working together as a business community we can and will regenerate Birkenhead for the benefit of us all.”

Birkenhead BID will deliver a range of initiatives and projects based on four main themes - safety and security, cleanliness and appearance, marketing and promotion and supporting businesses.

Wirral Chamber of Commerce will manage the Birkenhead BID under the guidance of an independent board made up of representatives from the BID area and its business community.

Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber said: “As a Chamber of Commerce we recognised how a successful Birkenhead would not only benefit the town itself but also add great value to the whole of Wirral and the wider region.

“By developing a Birkenhead BID we have further demonstrated our total commitment to helping businesses grow and prosper.

“I would like to thank all the voters in the ballot for their confidence and commitment for this initiative, and we look forward to supporting the development of the BID over the coming months ahead.”