Newquay businesses gathered at the Headland Hotel this week to listen to plans for town’s proposed Business Improvement (BID) scheme.
Businesses were introduced to the principles behind the BID and heard what it could mean for Newquay including the opportunity to be in charge of an annual six figure sum to be spent on projects that businesses consider to be priorities.
The event was chaired by Andy Cole, owner of Andy’s cafe, who said: “BIDs is about benefits for businesses and providing additional services, not a way for the Councils to save money. It really is an investment scheme rather than a tax. Businesses would own the BID and you would see a return on your investment.”
BID schemes are ‘business-led for business benefit’ and operate in clearly defined geographical areas. Ratepayers including those in the public and voluntary sectors, pay an extra levy (typically 1%-2%) on their rateable value, money that remains in a local fund to deliver projects to improve the local economy.
Through extensive consultation, businesses identify the improvements needed that will make a real difference to their trading prospects. These project ideas are then developed and priced before being published in a final proposal on which eligible businesses have the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
For Newquay, a 2% levy would create a ring fenced fund of up to £1.5 million over a five-year term, money that would be managed by the private sector, through a new company set up to deliver the BID programme.
Neil Scott, BID manager for the Totally Truro BID, gave a compelling presentation on what the BID had achieved in Truro since it started two and a half years ago and how it has played an instrumental role in transforming the city from a place into a destination.
Andy Charalambous, who runs Moo Mooz in Gover Street was upbeat about the BID. He commented: “I was previously involved with the BID in Falmouth and as a business man, could see the potential benefits there. I also live in Truro and have really noticed the difference that the BID has made to the City. This is a fantastic opportunity for Newquay and businesses should grasp this and fully participate in the consultation process.”
If the general feedback to a Newquay BID is positive at this early stage, consultation with businesses will take place during 2010 and the early part of 2011, leading to a late spring ballot meaning that project delivery could begin in September 2011 with funds available until September 2016.