Ballot to retain Blackpool business district

Shops and businesses are being balloted on whether they want to renew a partnership which has seen millions of pounds of  cash invested in Blackpool town centre through an additional tax.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 3:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:05 pm

Traders have until 5pm on Friday March 19 to vote on whether or not they want the Blackpool BID (business improvement district) to continue for another five years.

The current agreement expires at the end of March and can only continue if more than half of eligible members agree to retain the BID.

Members, who are from a defined area covering the town centre, are charged a levy on their business rates starting at one per cent, which for most adds up to just under £5 per week.

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Town centre businesses will take part in the ballot

The BID levy, which is expected to add up to just over £1m over the next five years, is then used to fund additional services to those already provided by the council.

In Blackpool these include security wardens, additional street cleaning such as regular cleaning of empty units, manning CCTV cameras, marketing campaigns and providing the annual Christmas lights display.

Michael Williams, chairman of the current BID, said in a prospectus issued as part of the ballot process, he believed renewing the agreement would help the town’s post Covid recovery.

He added a ‘yes’ vote would mean “a joint investment in the town for the next five years; an investment which will continue to deliver the great range of services (and more) that you have come to expect from the BID and which will be essential to support the town centre’s recovery from Covid-19.”

Since the Blackpool BID was set up in October 2005, more than £4m has been invested by businesses with £1.75m worth of extra services provided in the past five years.

Consultation with members ahead of the ballot found security (84 per cent of respondents) and street cleaning (54 per cent) were the main priorities.

There are also plans to set up a second BID in Blackpool this summer which would cover the tourism sector of the town.

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