Boss calls for resort and city to co-operate

Jerry North.
Jerry North.

The manager of one of Lancaster’s shopping arcades has called for the city and Morecambe to work together to create a weekend tourist destination.

Jerry North, boss of St Nicholas Arcades, spoke to city councillors in his role as vice-chairman of Lancaster Business Improvement District (BID).

Mr North called for councillors to back a renewal of the BID to generate £1.4m to spend on Lancaster over the next five years.

BID cash comes from an extra tax paid by businesses within a specified area - typically 1% to 2% of rateable value. The money is then spent on improvements to that area.

Since the Lancaster BID was formed in 2012, it has helped finance events such as Light Up Lancaster, the Lancaster Music Festival and the city’s Christmas Lights Switch-On.

Morecambe businesses will soon take a vote on their own BID, due in March 2016.

“Morecambe businesses were originally offered the same support as Lancaster but they had no appetite for it,” said Mr North.

“At the time they had achieved the Portas Pilot money and that put their BID on the backburner.

“But now Morecambe businesses are working up a BID.

“Lancaster and Morecambe are not competing against each other as each has assets the other doesn’t.

“They need to work together to become a weekend tourist destination.

“My hope is that together we can put the area back on the map.”

Councillor David Smith praised everybody who has been working on the Lancaster BID.

“It’s a real good news story and it’s a credit to everybody involved,” he said.

Lancaster City Council then voted overwhelmingly to support the city’s BID renewa.

The council will vote in favour before the ballot period ends on November 25.