Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Local businesses back BID to improve city

Businesses in Lancaster have voted yes to making the city centre a 'business improvement district' (BID).

Support for the BID has been hard won by its supporters, after concerted opposition from some quarters, and its backers are delighted by the news.

A BID is a defined geographical area within which companies pay an extra levy on their business rates which then goes towards improvements and public services.

The ballot means an extra £650,000 will be invested in Lancaster city centre courtesy of these business ratepayers which have a property with a rateable value of over £10,000, contributing a 1.5 per cent levy.

A steering group will now appoint a BID manager to work with the city's business community to provide services over and above those already provided by the local authorities.

Initial ideas include additional marketing, promotional initiatives and projects to utilise empty shops and attract more visitors.

Paul Cusimano, chair of the Lancaster Unlimited Steering Group set up to deliver the BID, said: "The fact businesses in Lancaster have voted in favour of a BID during the current economic climate is a real testament to them and their belief in the model.

"Winning the vote will mean the business community can now move forward to deliver a wide range of initiatives that will improve the attraction and appeal of the city centre by making it a more prosperous, exciting and vibrant place."

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