King’s Lynn BID steering group disbands after ‘no’ vote

PUBLISHED: 09:39 18 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:39 18 April 2014

King's Lynn town centre, where traders have narrowly failed to back a business improvement district.

King's Lynn town centre, where traders have narrowly failed to back a business improvement district.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

Business people hoped to convince traders to pay a levy to promote the town centre, but a poll of 600 shops, pubs and other businesses was lost on a technicality.

The 18-month campaign and month-long vote saw 54pc vote in favour of the move.

However, a secondary count, based on rateable value, saw the vote recorded as a no vote.

The legislation states that for a BID to be introduced there needs to be a majority of all who vote, in favour of the proposal and, of all of those, the total rateable value of all these businesses is calculated and needs to be a majority.

The defeat meant the steering group would have to wait another two years for another chance to launch a BID.

Ben Colson, chairman of the group, said: “I think I should be pleased that the business community is so positive about its future that it can turn away from such an opportunity, but I am not sure that it really thinks that way.

“Instead, the whole plan has been disbanded by one or maybe two businesses. That is how democracy works, and the steering group has now, unfortunately, disbanded.”

Darren Taylor, chairman of the King’s Lynn Town Centre Partnership, said: “The steering group, while no longer operating under the proposed BID, is certain that something positive can still come of this, but others do need to step forward to get involved – we’re not giving up on our town.”

If the BID vote had been positive, businesses would have paid an additional 1.5pc of their business rates into a special fund, which would have been used to promote the town.

The steering group estimated that the BID would have raised about £1.5m over five years, which would have been spent on promotional activities.

The King’s Lynn town centre 
partnership is holding its annual general meeting on Tuesday, May 6 at 9.30am at West Norfolk council’s offices in Chapel Street.

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