'Back the BID' calls as leaders prepare for renewal vote

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 June 2016

Town centre manager Steve Townsend with Weston BID street wardens Adrian Ley  and Bridget Parsons.

Town centre manager Steve Townsend with Weston BID street wardens Adrian Ley and Bridget Parsons.

Archant

Weston's business community is being offered the chance to help set the priorities for the town's Business Improvement District (BID) - if companies vote to extend the initative for a second term, that is.

The town’s BID project was first launched back in 2012, after businesses voted in favour of the scheme after hearing of its ambition to grow and strengthen Weston’s economy.

The system sees firms throughout the BID area pay a levy on their business rates into a central purse administered by the BID, which is then put to use on a range of initiatives to help the town.

Key successes over the past four years have included the instigation of the popular street warden scheme, its Radiolink security system and a number of town centre events, as well as street cleaning and support for the award-winning Weston In Bloom.

The BID’s five-year lifespan will come to a close next year, though – prompting leaders to begin canvassing opinions on how to develop the project in a second term, should they secure the votes necessary to extend the scheme.

Town centre manager Steve Townsend said: “Weston BID ensures town centre businesses are represented and have a genuine voice in issues affecting the area and shaping the future of the town centre.

“We are asking all businesses in the BID area to tell us what their priorities are for improving the area even further to include in the new BID business plan.

“I would urge businesses to give us their views on the projects we have delivered and what they want to see for the next five years so we can build on our progress.”

Consultation events are being held on the Grand Pier on June 14 and 23, while a new website has been launched this week for BID members to contribute their views.

At the end of this, the BID team will draw up a business plan to reflect those opinions, which will shape the future strategy if a BID extension wins favour in November’s ballot.

BID chairman Paul Batts said: “There is no doubt Weston BID has contributed towards improving conditions in Weston town centre. Weston is on the up and the next few years are crucial to continuing to improve the Weston offering for locals and visitors alike.

“The Weston BID has invested over £1million directly into the town centre and introduced a variety of initiatives and projects to enhance Weston’s profile and reputation to boost footfall and strengthen the local economy.

“All of this will end in March next year unless we vote for the new BID. I would encourage all businesses to contribute to the consultation and strongly recommend them to vote ‘yes’ for a five-year BID renewal.”

Consultation details can be found at www.westonbid.co.uk

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