Businesses in Lancaster have voted yes to five more years of the city’s Business Improvement District (BID).
Turnout in the postal ballot, which took place last week was higher than in 2012, when the BID was first introduced, with over 44 per cent businesses returning their vote.
The process was independently managed by the Electoral Reforms Service and resulted in 111 yes votes against 51 no votes.
The successful ballot means that The Lancaster BID will remain in position until March 2021 and a further £1.2 million of levy payers’ money will be used to improve the city centre of Lancaster over the next five years.
Liz Hickingbotham, BID manager, said: “Obviously we are thrilled that the businesses in Lancaster city centre have voted in favour of the BID.
“It’s a real testament to their belief in the BID, the work we have delivered in the last three years and all the great things we can do, moving forward, now the future of the BID is secure for the forthcoming five years!”
The BID operates on a levy paying system where business ratepayers who lie within the BID area and have a property with a rateable value of £10,000 or more, contribute a 1.5 per cent levy.
This money is then spent on projects and initiatives to increase footfall in the city.
Previous campaigns have included the renovation of Lawson’s Rocking Horse, extra Christmas lights, cleaning up Chancery Lance, support funding for the Lancaster Music Festival, Jazz Festival and Light Up Lancaster, as well as crime reduction initiatives and subsidised parking. Lancaster BID have also organised highly successful events such as the recent Christmas Lights Switch-On, Chilli Fest, Skate Ramp and the hunt for Lancaster’s diamond.
The BID team comprises of Manager Liz Hickingbotham, events and marketing assistant Rachael Wilkinson and a committee made up of local business people.
This small team work with the city’s business community, to provide services over and above those already provided by the local authorities.
Ideas include additional marketing and promotional initiatives, as well as projects to utilise empty shops, clean up the streets and attract more visitors.
Coun Janice Hanson, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “It is fantastic news that Lancaster’s businesses have again voted yes to the Business Improvement District.
“The last three years have seen a number of great initiatives that would not have been possible without the BID and the benefits have been seen not only by businesses but the wider community as a whole.
“The city council looks forward to working alongside them for a further five years to secure a successful and prosperous future for the district.”