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Town set to vote on renewal of Business Improvement District

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 April 2018

Lowestoft Vision is looking to renew its Business Improvement District (BID). Picture: Charlie Ketchen

Lowestoft Vision is looking to renew its Business Improvement District (BID). Picture: Charlie Ketchen

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An organisation working to boost its town’s prosperity is looking to secure another five years to continue delivering its services.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Picture: Charlie KetchenJohn Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Picture: Charlie Ketchen

Lowestoft Vision - managed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce - was founded in 2013 after a number of businesses voted in favour of creating a Business Improvement District (BID). The result meant paying an additional 1.5pc levy of their rateable value, but funds would then be ring-fenced for projects in the BID area.

In the ensuing five-year spell, Lowestoft Vision has since been working with businesses and other partners to make the town centre more appealing and attractive.

Among the projects to which it has contributed are the town security scheme and the part-funding of a PCSO, while it also helped stage special events such as the 1940s weekend and the Christmas lights switch-on.

Kelly Scoot, Justin Taylor, Chris Ames and Rob Johnson at the gathering for Lowestoft Vision's BID renewal launch. Picture: Charlie KetchenKelly Scoot, Justin Taylor, Chris Ames and Rob Johnson at the gathering for Lowestoft Vision's BID renewal launch. Picture: Charlie Ketchen

More than 40 businesses from the BID area were joined by other companies and public sector partners at Hoseasons’ headquarters on March 27 to hear about the arrangements for Vision’s contract renewal and its initiatives.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, focused on the 2.9pc increase in footfall achieved in the BID since 2013.

“When this figure is compared to the general decline in high street business in that time, a trend-bucking 2.9pc is a massive proof point in favour of what Lowestoft Vision has achieved,” he said.

The Lowestoft Vision BID renewal campaign launch. Picture: Charlie KetchenThe Lowestoft Vision BID renewal campaign launch. Picture: Charlie Ketchen

All levy-paying businesses within the Lowestoft Vision BID area will be sent a ballot paper from April 23, before voting begins on April 27. The ballot closes on May 24 and the outcome will be announced soon afterwards.

Danny Steel, Lowestoft Vision chairman, urged a ‘yes’ vote to allow another five years of work to be undertaken.

He said: “To allow Lowestoft Vision to deliver even more footfall-increasing schemes, we need a simple majority of the votes.

Mike Davies and Chris Bird from HSBC at the gathering for Lowestoft Vision's BID renewal launch. Picture: Charlie KetchenMike Davies and Chris Bird from HSBC at the gathering for Lowestoft Vision's BID renewal launch. Picture: Charlie Ketchen

“It is important to bear in mind that a ‘no’ vote will mean that Lowestoft Vision will cease to exist as a company along with all the benefits of its various projects and services.”

Lowestoft Vision has also produced a new business plan setting out its objectives if the BID renewal is achieved. This will be available on their website and circulated to BID levy-payers later this month.

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