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Monday, October 8, 2018

Llan chosen to explore Business Improvement District

Breaking news exclusive

Llangollen is one of 10 partnerships across the country which will share over £260,000 of Welsh Government funding to explore establishing Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

The aim is to boost the local economy and to support regeneration efforts.

Once the BID is agreed via a legal ballot, each business contributes financially via a levy, which is then used to fund the agreed activities set out in their business plan.

These could include marketing, promotion and events, car parking, tackling anti-social behaviour, improving access to towns, or work to make the area more vibrant and viable.

Other towns apart from Llangollen receiving funding as part of the current programme are Mold, Brecon, Newtown, Barry, Port Talbot, Treorchy and Aberdare.

Sector BIDs across the UK are increasing in number, and Welsh Government is keen to ensure they are encouraged in Wales.

Minister for Housing and Regeneration Rebecca Evans said: “We are seeing BIDs make a real difference to town centres across Wales, but setting them up takes time, effort and support, which is why we provide Welsh Government funding to get them off the ground.

“We are committed to creating lasting economic change in the South Wales Valleys through our Valleys Taskforce, and I hope the BID proposals in Aberdare, Treorchy, Port Talbot and Ebbw Vale, will play a significant role in this.

“BIDs can help to revitalise our town centres and promote regeneration. We have seen existing BIDs delivering increased street cleaning initiatives, tackling antisocial behaviour, reducing crime, offering bespoke business training courses and hosting numerous events and festivals.”

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: “Collectively, the eight BIDs created in the last programme have generated over £5 million private investment to support their chosen activities. This is a significant return on our investment, helping drive local economic development and supporting our Welsh high streets."

Town councillor Robyn Lovelock, a strong supporter of the BID scheme, said: "I see this as a huge opportunity for town businesses to come together, discuss and agree what actions they think would lift the town's business economy through the development of a business plan. 

" Those discussions will be exciting but no doubt tricky, and the support of an independent consultant will be invaluable helping businesses work through the options, the pros and cons. 

"It seems to me that the question of whether it is feasible or desirable for the business plan to then be funded through a Business Improvement District with the associated increase in rates, or through another mechanism, then comes later - at "the ballot" in 12-18 months - once the business plan and terms are available for all businesses to consider and discuss. 

"This is an exciting opportunity for Llangollen (and its neighbour and fellow Cittaslow town - Mold) to explore new mechanisms for boosting its economy during difficult economic times."

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