Falmouth bids for business improvement

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A proposal detailing how Falmouth plans to spend £500k which could be unlocked through a Business Improvement District (BID) has been published.
The document, Building Business For Falmouth, is being distributed to more than 400 businesses within the proposed BID area highlighting the difference the scheme could make for the town.

Four projects have been outlined, including marketing and promotion for Falmouth, events and festivals, improvements to signage and providing a voice for local businesses.

The £500k would be raised over five years through businesses agreeing to pay a 1% levy on their business rates going into a ring-fenced pot to be spent only on projects for Falmouth.

In addition, grants and contributions in kind have already been pledged by Falmouth Town Council and Cornwall County Council.

There are plans to further boost the BID coffers by securing additional funding through grants, sponsorship, and potential Convergence money earmarked for strategic investment towns.

All of the funding raised will be spent on new projects, which will build additional customers and spend for Falmouth businesses – hence a strong emphasis on marketing and events.

The Falmouth BID will also ensure that businesses get good value from the councils and none of the BID money will be spent on council or statutory services.

Nigel Carpenter of St Michael’s Hotel & Spa is chairman of the Falmouth BID steering group. He said: “This is an enormous opportunity for the businesses of Falmouth to come together and help build a stronger Falmouth for the future, boosting our business income.

“Whilst it is clearly a challenging time for everyone at the moment, it is even more important that we seize the moment to market and promote Falmouth more wholeheartedly and increase our market share.

“We cannot afford to miss this opportunity and by working together through BIDs, we are stronger than working individually.”

A postal ballot through which businesses can vote for or against the BID will be launched in early February. The ballot closes at 5pm on Thursday, March 12.

The levy set at one per cent means that 79% of all businesses will pay less than £5 per week. The lowest contribution will be £50 per year with only businesses paying more than £5k rates being eligible.

A not-for-profit limited company called Falmouth BID is being established with two initial directors, Nigel Carpenter and James Hodgson of Hodgsons Accountants.

Alongside the four projects, BID funding will allow for the recruitment of a Marketing/BID Executive who will help deliver the projects, working alongside Town Centre Manager David Pollard.

The Falmouth BID would be the second scheme of its kind to be formed in Cornwall. Truro’s BID was established in 2007 and has since funded a comprehensive city website, attractive Christmas light displays, winter events plus a week-long community music festival.