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Monday, February 24, 2020

Chamber urges businesses to back the BID

Llangollen’s business community is currently being asked to vote on whether or not they wish to be part of a local Business Improvement District.

The Chamber of Trade and Tourism Executive has issued a statement, which llanblogger has been asked to publish, explaining why, as a body, it is voting “yes” to the BID proposal, and suggesting the area’s businesses should do the same.  The statement says:

“As a business with a rateable value over £2500 in the proposed Llangollen BID area you will have received a copy of the Business Plan and will get a voting form via the council and the Electoral Reform Society.

“Several successful and pro-active businesses in the area have supported the consultancy process with lots of their time and some also financially.

“A Business Improvement District is where a group of businesses pay into a not-for-profit company which delivers the objectives set out in the business plan.

“If the majority of businesses in the area vote in favour of the BID plan (both by number and rateable value) then the included business will pay a levy to fund the business plan.

“If businesses don’t vote either way then their votes aren’t included in the numbers and will have no sway either for or against.

“The BID is not a tax, it is a Business Plan, created by and administered by the businesses of the town to improve the town as a place to do business and live and as an investment to benefit those businesses and help them make more money and/or remain in business.

“The BID lasts 5 years but can be cancelled if the businesses don’t believe that it is working.

“The BID is formed as a company (limited by guarantee) and has the running costs associated with any business such as admin and accounts, these are forecast to be about 11% of the collected levy, not 34% as stated on a vote no leaflet.

“To make it work the company will have to employ someone locally to deliver the business plan under the supervision of the board, this is budgeted at £20k to employ a person with the right skill set and experience.

“The council will collect the money and pass it on to the bid company without charging for the privilege, but they will pass on the extra costs from their software licensing for the collection.

“All the marketing money spend is directed by the businesses involved, legally it cannot duplicate existing council spends.

“If  the BID spends money on marketing the town it will come from all businesses with a rateable value over £2500, unlike historical projects like the Christmas lights where just a few of the businesses supported the work.

“The BID will likely choose to support Llangollen 2020, thereby helping them raise more funds towards the project through avenues that are unavailable to the project without business support.

“Businesses have complained for decades that parking maps and signage need improving. The Chamber has never had any money to move on this bar printing some maps.

“With a £100k over 5 years the Llangollen BID Company can get these improved in addition to the existing council budgets.

“All BID levy payers are eligible to be members of the BID company and stand for the election to the board.

“The benefits of BIDS are clear with many BID areas voting to repeat the process over 5 years and have money to spend to improve local business, directed and spent by local business.

“Part of the business plan is to join a national buying group to reduce costs for business including telecoms, utilities, waste collection and potentially rates. For many businesses this will likely recoup all or most of the levy they pay.

“A BID for Llangollen gives you new services, support, marketing and a town competing with other well marketed towns in the area. Llangollen has a lot to shout about, but we don’t. Customers need reasons to come to Llangollen and reasons to return.

“Those reasons are here in abundance, but we don’t promote them to our customers as well as we can. With a BID for Llangollen we can do our town and area justice with better destination marketing.

“Government Support comes to those who support themselves, the more proactive we are as a business community the more we will attract government support. This is one of the primary criteria for government support.

“So by just having a bid we can get more funding for business in the town and have a paid member of staff to apply for it.

“Here are five good reasons to vote yes:

1. Over £400,000 of investment for the town centre over 5 years

2. The BID will be run and controlled by Llangollen businesses

3. Projects to be carried out are set out in the Business Plan including an exciting annual Marketing, Promotion & Events Programme, Wayfinding and Access Improvements and Reducing Your Business Costs by centrally organising services such as Trade Waste Management, Recycling & Insurance. Over 70% of businesses will pay less than £1 a day for all this and will get more back than they put in (based on other BID towns experience (Google Keighly BID cost savings)

4.There are over 300 BIDs operating successfully in the UK and 12 across Wales including nearby competitors, and Llangollen will need to compete effectively with them

5. The Llangollen BID will act as a powerful business lobbying and advocacy body to ensure your voice is heard on issues like business rates, car parking and delivering investment. Much of the £90m
Transforming Towns Programme that was announced last week by the Welsh Government will be channelled through BIDs and Llangollen does not want to miss out

6. Includes membership of a national buying group such as Meercat Associates, reducing gas, electric, telecoms and waste bills by negotiating on behalf of 10,000 businesses.

“Please send in your vote, whether YES or NO. We’ll be voting YES, because we invest in our businesses.”

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