Mixed views on BID’s value for money

John Elles
John Elles

Although a majority of businesses owners voted in favour of the BID, not everyone feels they have seen any benefit.

One shop owner, who did not wish to be named, said: “Two weeks ago there was a craft fair organised by BID. We had one of the worst Saturdays in 10 years.

“So the money being spent has had no benefit on my business. I do support the BID in some respects, but I don’t like the fact that it’s a compulsory levy.

“With the bigger players, their rateable value means they get more votes than anyone else. The levy comes out of my pocket, which could have been spent on a holiday or something else.

“I’d be more inclined to put money in if it was an honorary system, but it’s this compulsory levy I’m not happy with.”

Other businesses have echoed this sentiment.

But John Elles, owner of Elles Gallery, in Gage Street, said the idea of a BID was “right up my street”.

He said: “It’s a brilliant idea. Us independent traders have got to stick together. It’s working and people are taking notice of it. I think it’s a very positive thing for Lancaster. There’s got to be a wider plan, and this is a good way of brining one on. There seems to have been a lot more activity lately. Whatever the BID is doing they seem to be achieving their aims, and shopkeepers are feeling the benefits.”

David Snelling, owner of Your Health Shop, in North Road, falls below the £10,000 rateable value threshold, so does not pay a levy to the BID.

But he said: “It’s good that they’re being proactive, especially after that couple of years that Lancaster has had, with the roadworks, sewer works and city centre improvements.

“I’ve definitely noticed Lancaster looking nicer.”