Artistic inspiration for Sparkbrook and Springfield BID

By on 06/09/2013 in Cllr Ali, News

Following Birmingham City Council Cabinet approval in May this year, businesses in one of Birmingham's most diverse and distinct destinations are being asked to vote this month on proposals for them to become a Business Improvement District (BID).

950 businesses in Sparkbrook and Springfield have received their ballot papers this week and have until the end of September to cast their vote on business plans put forward by local Business Associations. Those plans could generate £1.2m for Sparkbrook and Springfield local centre over the 5 year term of the BID.

Birmingham City Council, recognised nationally as a leader in the field of BIDs, has supported the development of these latest proposals which, along with a proposed Soho Road BID, would bring to 12 the number of Business Improvement Districts across the city.

And a taste of the creative environment that a successful BID area can generate is being demonstrated by the Sparkbrook Mural - an inspirational piece of public art from world-renowned graffiti artist Mohammed Ali that has been unveiled in a major gateway to the area.

The Sparkbrook Mural,  situated at the junction of Highgate Road and Ladypool Road, was commissioned by the Sparkbrook and Springfield Town Centres Partnership with funding it received from DCLG following an application to become a Portas Pilot area last year. Its installation is a timely reminder to local businesses that if they vote in favour of proposals to become a Business Improvement District (BID), they can expect to see many more initiatives that will brighten up their trading environment.

The imagery itself captures the historical BSA gun factory that Birmingham was famed for, and that provided a livelihood for many different communities, including migrants from South Asia.  The mural movingly depicts the journey unravelling as many of those workers moved on to start their own businesses – creating the Birmingham 'Balti Dish'  along the way, which has now become a part of the British national identity.

Councillor Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Jobs and Skills, said “Birmingham City Council has a proud record of supporting local business communities to achieve their aspirations through BIDs. We are pleased to be able to extend this support by enabling the businesses in Sparkbrook and Springfield to vote on proposals which will give them a greater say in their own futures.”

Artist Mohammed Ali said: ““As well as capturing the story of the area, this is something that is personal to me. Sparkbrook is where I was born and raised, and where my late father ran his business, and public art has this power to connect with people.”

The results of the BID ballot will be known on 1st October and if businesses in the area vote in favour, it will join other BID areas across the City in delivering a range of projects that will enhance the trading environments for local businesses, residents, employees and visitors alike.

Pics of the mural



1). A Business Improvement District or BID is a defined area within which the local businesses community work together and invest collectively in new projects and services that they have prioritized to address opportunities and problems that affect their businesses, staff and customers.

For a BID to be successful at ballot, the majority of votes cast must be in favour of the proposals, both by number and by total rateable value.

Further information about BIDs can be found at:

2). At present Birmingham has 10 Bids, 5 within the city centre area (Retail Birmingham, Colmore, Broad Street, Southside and Jewellery Quarter) and 5 in local centres (Erdington, Kings Heath, Northfield, Acocks Green and Sutton Coldfield).

Each BID is individual and covers unique areas with different issues. The city centre BIDs raise the most revenue as they generally cover more businesses with higher rateable values and generate a higher income or budget for those areas compared with the local centres BIDS.

The local centres raise on average £100K per annum of which an average 35% is spent on employing a BID manager to deliver the BID's projects.

In the city centre the BIDs raise on average £472K and two raise over £650K per annum.

3.) More information on the BID can be found at:

For further information, please contact:

Matt Powell (Sparkbrook and Springfield Town Centre Manager) 07769 163731

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