Lowestoft: Firms urged to back Business Improvement District plan

Lowestoft town centre manager Emma King

Lowestoft town centre manager Emma King - Credit: Archant © 2011

FIRMS in Lowestoft are being urged to get behind a major drive to improve and promote the town’s main shopping areas.

Just over a year ago a campaign was launched to establish a new Business Improvement District (BID) in Lowestoft, covering the town centre, historic High Street and Roman Hill ward.

Led by Lowestoft Vision, it is hoping to raise £1million to enhance and promote key shopping areas by creating the new district and asking businesses within it to pay a levy to help fund any improvements.

The campaign stepped up a gear last week as the BID’s business plan and ballot notices were delivered to retailers ahead of a vote next month, with Lowestoft Vision urging them to get behind it.

With the slogan of “Let’s give Lowestoft a bright positive future together” the BID is being supported by Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council, the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Lowestoft Town Management Partnership (LTMP) – the retail arm of the Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce.

It is also being backed by the Association of Town Centre Management groups (ACTM). In her business plan, Emma King, of LTMP, the Lowestoft Vision BID’s development manager, says: “Exciting times lie ahead for Lowestoft, as we now reach the pivotal point in the development of our BID.

“The future of our town and the success of its businesses is in your hands – with a ‘yes’ vote we can make the changes you want to see over the next five years with a ring-fenced pot of money that only the businesses in the BID area can spend.”

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If it wins approval, the Lowestoft Vision BID will focus on a designated area of the town, where business rate-payers would pay a levy to fund improvements.

The businesses have been asked to consider what their future town might look like and to give their support to creating a BID to turn their ideas into reality.

The BID team’s business plan highlights the potential benefits. It says: “A BID in Lowestoft would bring private investment into additional activities and services that add to what their rates currently pay for.

“Most importantly, the businesses that pay this levy would also control its use. All the money in the pot would be spent under the control of the Lowestoft Vision Management Board and a BID committee made up of local businesses.”

The BID aims to build on Lowestoft’s Portas Pilot town status by making the town more safe and secure, more attractive, more appealing, more accessible and more influential.