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Norwich city centre set for £3m boost after yes vote for a Business Improvement District

City centre manager Stefan Gurney(front) and business representatives(l to r) Nick Bond from Visit Norwich, Steve Falvey of The Forum Trust, Stacey Rodgers and Jenny Bradfield from the Leeds Building Society and Dawn Brindle from the Maddermarket Theatre. Photo by Simon Finlay

City centre manager Stefan Gurney(front) and business representatives(l to r) Nick Bond from Visit Norwich, Steve Falvey of The Forum Trust, Stacey Rodgers and Jenny Bradfield from the Leeds Building Society and Dawn Brindle from the Maddermarket Theatre. Photo by Simon Finlay

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Businesses have voted yes to set up a new partnership which will raise £3m to spend on improving Norwich for traders, shoppers and tourists.

The yes vote to the creation of a Norwich Business Improvement District has been hailed by bosses. who say it will be a real shot in the arm for the vitality of the city.

Of the businesses who voted, 79pc by number and 91pc by rateable value voted yes.

Today’s ballot count was carried out at City Hall this morning, with a turnout of 30.7pc.

The creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) - taking in the majority of Norwich city centre, will see £3m raised over the next five years through an annual one per cent levy on the rateable value of businesses over £15,000 within the BID area.

A board will now be set up to decide how to spend the money, but proposals put forward in the business plan for the BID include:

• Marketing initiatives to help promote Norwich to new visitors and investors

• Collaborative buying power to help business save money

• Making the city safer

• A stronger voice for business

Peter Mitchell, chairman of Norwich BID and group managing director at Jarrold’s, said: “The support and yes votes have turned this exciting opportunity into a reality for Norwich.

“Although it is a tough economic climate, Norwich businesses have voted to spend £3m on initiatives that will make a real difference to the vitality of the city centre. “A big ‘thank you’ to all the local businesses that worked tirelessly to make this a success. The yes vote will allow our local businesses to take ownership and deliver more success for our city centre.”

The yes vote marks the culmination of more than a year’s campaigning to get the BID off the ground.

See tomorrow’s Evening News and EDP for reaction to the yes vote.

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