Business Improvement District to begin in Tunbridge Wells after landslide ballot result
by William Mata | 9th November 2018
MORE than £2million will be invested in making Tunbridge Wells a ‘great place to work’ now a Business Improvement District [BID] has been secured.
A majority [73 per cent] of the firms who voted in favour of a plan to enhance parking, marketing and promotion, and events in the town over a five year period from April 1.
Businesses in a set town centre area will fund the BID by paying an annual levy of 1.25 per cent, although firms with a rateable value of £15,000 or less will be exempt and no premise will pay more than £5,000.
The result of the ballot [held from October 11 to November 8] was announced on Friday, November 9, with 38 per cent of eligible businesses taking part.
Nicky Blanchard, Chair of Royal Tunbridge Wells Together, said: “This is incredibly good news for Tunbridge Wells, we need to be ready on April 1 to deliver.
“The hard work starts now. We will be spending the next few months making sure that everything outlined in the business plan is in place and ready. The BID will be fully accountable to its member businesses and we look forward to working with them all.”
Royal Tunbridge Wells Together will now become the ‘BID company’ and would lead a board comprised of members from town businesses and also Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
The BID is, however, led by businesses rather than the council and services provided would be in addition to those provided by the local authority.
In Tunbridge Wells this could see:
- £635,000 would be spent on events
- £303,000 on supporting businesses
- £495,000 on boosting town promotion
- £200,000 improving accessibility, including parking
The agreement will last for five years from April 2019 and then businesses are consulted again to ask if they would like it to continue for another five years.
More than 300 towns and areas in the UK have a BID, including Maidstone and Canterbury – although these places have voted to spend the levy money on other initiatives.