Vote looms closer for Morecambe town centre £650K cash BID

Morecambe town centre businesses may go to a vote in May to decide if they support a scheme to raise extra cash to spend on the town.
Morecambe town centre businesses may go to a vote in May to decide if they support a scheme to raise extra cash to spend on the town.

A champion of Morecambe is confident businesses will say ‘yes’ to a £650,000 boost for the town.

Brendan Hughes hopes for a positive vote if plans for a Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID) go to ballot later this year.

Brendan Hughes, chairman of Morecambe BID.

Brendan Hughes, chairman of Morecambe BID.

Mr Hughes, chairman of the BID, said cash generated can be invested to improve Morecambe by targeting ‘grot spots’, safety at night, signage and promotion of the town as a place to stay and spend money.

The BID team would also lobby to keep CCTV in Morecambe town centre amid fears for its future due to funding cuts.

But first Morecambe town centre businesses must vote in favour of paying an extra tax - typically 1-2% of their rateable value – into a cash pot which could raise at least £650,000 over five years.

“From the initial surveys there was strong support for it and there still is,” said Mr Hughes, who also runs Morecambe firm ICU Security and is on both Lancaster City Council and Morecambe Town Council.

“There’s a strong possibility it will get a ‘yes’ vote.

“We’ve got some big players on board like Next, Boots and the Arndale Centre.”

Lancaster City Council cabinet meets this Tuesday (January 19) to decide whether to move the BID to its next stage. It is expected they will back the BID blueprint and endorse plans for a ballot of local businesses in May 2016.

Lancaster has had a BID in place since 2012. It was renewed in November 2015 after city centre businesses voted ‘yes’ and stands to pull in £1.2m over the next five years.