Deadline looms for BID votes
BUSINESSES in Bury St Edmunds now have less than a week left to vote on plans for a �350,000-a-year scheme to boost the local economy. Business rate payers within the town centre area are being asked to approve the creation of a Business Improvement District, under which a supplementary levy would be used to fund a package of projects identified by local firms as likely to boost trade.
BUSINESSES in Bury St Edmunds now have less than a week left to vote on plans for a �350,000-a-year scheme to boost the local economy.
Business rate payers within the town centre area are being asked to approve the creation of a Business Improvement District, under which a supplementary levy would be used to fund a package of projects identified by local firms as likely to boost trade.
The “Bid4Bury” propsoals include increased marketing activity to attract more visitors to the town centre, the introduction of “Street Rangers”, an environmental warden to improve safety and cleanliness, improved Christmas lights, supported by seasonal entertainment, and new at other times of the year.
Bury's town centre management is leading the campaign for a “yes” vote, with the scheme also backed by Bury Chamber and a mix of national retail chains and local independent.
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However, for the BID to go ahead, it will have to secure the support of a majority of traders - by number and rateable value - in a postal ballot of all organisations occupying premises within the designated town centre area with a rateable value of �10,000 or more.
Ballot papers were distributed at the start of the voting period earlier this month, together with details of the BID business plan.
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Completed voting forms must be received by 5pm on Monday, November 30 - either by using the reply-paid envelope provided or by delivery by hand to St Edmundsbury Borough Council's offices at West Suffolk House, in Western Way, Bury.
Chrissy Harrod, manager of the Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre and chairman of Bury's town centre management, said: “I would encourage people to vote yes in the ballot because of the tremendous benefits this will give us all, especially the boost to safety and security. Street rangers, for example, will create a friendlier and safer atmosphere in the town centre, which obviously helps every single business.”
Other backers of the BID include Paul Haynes, manager of the arc shopping centre, Brian Cooper, manager of the Bury branch of Waitrose, Rick Wildridge, chairman of Bury Chamber, Ron Blackmore, proprietor of the Fox Inn in Eastgate Street and Nigel George of solicitors firm George & Co.
However, there has been some opposition to the scheme, including concern that the additional levy will be a burden on businesses already affected by the recession.
BIDs are already run successfully in towns throughout the UK - including Ipswich - with the extra money typically supplementing services such as street cleaning and town centre patrols in addition to those already provided by councils and the police.
Further details of the BID proposals are available at the dedicated website www.bid4bury.com . Alternatively, call the town centre management team on 766258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .