A Business Improvement District proposal for Waterloo has been launched by the Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance.
A Business Improvement District (BID), allowing businesses greater influence over the local environment, can be set up following a 2003 Act of Parliament. The additional services are funded by a small annual compulsory levy on businesses.
The ballot was announced in October, with a formal launch held this week.
WQBA chair Chris Smith, speaking at the launch reception in the refurbished Wootton Street arches, said that the BID was about action, control, focus and leadership. He stressed that businesses would control how money was spent and that the Waterloo Quarter would provide the focus for improving the area.
Phillip Oppenheim, WQ board member and managing director of Cubana, said that people did not know what the Waterloo area was and that neither Lambeth Council nor the South Bank Employers Group could provide the focus and action needed.
"Every pound will be matched by other funding with local businesses having more control over environment and identity" he added. "There will be a huge return over the years."
Philip O'Halloran, Morley College principal who has worked in Waterloo since 1974, said that the area had lost over 10,000 employees in the last quarter of a century with the departure of the GLC, MI5, David Gregg and the Department of Education. He was marketing Morley as being near Waterloo and had 15,000 students as potential shoppers and recommending that the Morley governors back the BID.
The Waterloo BID boundary embraces the area around Lambeth North Station, Lower Marsh and part of The Cut. The northern boundary is Waterloo Station and Waterloo East railway line. The southern boundary is Morley and Gray Streets.
Voting papers are due to be sent to all businesses in this area on 31 January with the ballot closing on 28 February.
• Chris Smith pointed out that due to the borough boundary running across The Cut there was a lack of Christmas decorations at the east end of the street. He announced the Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance's intention of seeking a second ballot to bring the Southwark end of the The Cut into the Waterloo Quarter.