Morecambe businesses vote ‘yes’ to Business Improvement District

Businesses in Morecambe have voted yes to making the town centre a Business Improvement District (BID).

Turnout in the ballot was 35% with 81% of businesses by number voting in favour and 83% in favour by size. The vote was independently managed by the Electoral Reforms Service. 

The successful ballot means that the local business community will be investing an extra £630,000 in Morecambe over a five-year period to spend on encouraging more people to visit and spend money in the town.

The Morecambe BID steering group will now look to appoint a BID manager to work with the town’s business community to provide services over and above those already provided by the local authorities.  Ideas include additional marketing, promotional initiatives, as well as projects to utilise empty shops and attract more visitors.

Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member with responsibility for planning and regeneration, said: “It is fantastic news that Morecambe’s businesses have voted yes to the Business Improvement District.

“The BID will really complement the work the city council is undertaking in the town through the Morecambe Area Action Plan. We will be working very closely with the business community to create a more prosperous place to live, shop, work and visit.”

Brendan Hughes, Chair of the Steering Group set up to deliver the BID, said: “We are delighted that the businesses in the Morecambe BID zone have voted Yes to a five-year BID. I’d like to thank the Steering Committee and The Chamber, North Lancashire for all the work they have put in over the last 18 months to deliver this positive vote.

“We are determined to hit the ground running and start the improvements as soon as the BID becomes an official entity in October. Now the hard work really does begin and we will strive to make Morecambe an even better place for everyone”.

Business Improvement Districts are based on the principle of charging an additional levy on all business rate payers in a defined area, following a majority vote by those ratepayers.

In Morecambe the levy will be 1.5% and applied to premises with a rateable value of over £3.5K. All registered charities in the BID zone will have 50% relief from the levy (i.e. they will only pay 0.75% of their rateable value annually).

Last updated: 01 June 2016