Renewed BID to aid business

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Plans to set up a district-wide business improvement district across Ashfield are being developed.

Leaders at Ashfield District Council say the BID, which would cost about £30,000 to set up would give businesses a bigger voice and help create a more vibrant economy in the area.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said the move was part of the authority’s community place strategy.

A feasibility study is set to be carried out over the next few months to engage with about 100 local businesses to find out how much support there is for it.

Coun Zadrozny said: “We have everything ready. We have had a Place Board meeting and I have had lots of meetings with businesses.

“We are about half way through. We have built relationships with main stakeholders and lots of community groups as well.

“I think we are going to consultation in the next few weeks.

“We have been putting together the different strands together rather than all working separately.

“The BID strategy is part of that, to try to encourage small and medium enterprises to be here, as well to try and remarket Ashfield, keeping jobs here and strengthening them.

“I hope this can demonstrate that Ashfield is a vibrant place to live and work in.

“As with the new Local Plan we are working on, it is not just about housing it is about hope for the future.”

BIDs see all businesses of a certain size pay a levy into a central pot which is then used to support the needs of companies in the area.

If the feasibility study showed potential support for a BID, a consultant would be commissioned to undertake BID development work which would cost between £25,000-£40,000.

Coun Zadrozny said: “I am anticipating the money for BID will not be coming entirely from the public purse.

“We will be deciding the council budget and signing it off in February so we will need to decide how much will be allocated by then.”

A BID can only be formed following consultation and a ballot in which businesses vote on a BID proposal.

British BIDs, the membership organisation, offers low percentage payback loans for the development stage which would be loaned by a future BID company .

If the BID went forward the loan would be paid back by the BID company over two years.

A BID is a business led and business funded body formed to improve a commercial area.

Businesses decide and direct what they want for the area. They are represented and have a voice in issues affecting the area. Advantages include increased footfall, improved staff retention, reduced business costs , enhanced marketing and promotion. Annual income is typically £200,000-£600,000.