Call for Buxton businesses to pay to improve town

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A community group has called for businesses to band together to improve Buxton’s Christmas lights, signage and other facilities with a new levy that could generate thousands of pounds.

Vision Buxton, the member’s organisation which brings together businesses, community groups and individuals, wants to conduct a feasibility study to see if becoming a part of a network of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) would be beneficial.

Chairman Adrian Brown said: “With the development of the Crescent this is the perfect time to improve the town for residents and visitors.”

A BID is a business-led and business-funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area.

A spokesman for British BID said: “A BID is funded through the BID levy, which is a small percentage of a businesses’ rateable value.

“The majority of BIDs charge one per cent of rateable value, however there are some that have opted for higher levies, particularly in smaller locations with lower rateable values and industrial areas.”

After the study has been conducted BID’s experts will talk to retailers and other businesses to see if they are prepared to make an investment based on a small part of their business rates to be spent on a range of improvements for Buxton.

Vision Buxton director Roddie MacLean said: “BIDs are independently run and completely autonomous. It’s a great way for businesses to work together and make a real difference.”

If the majority of businesses vote in favour they will be part of a five-year BID in a defined area of the town, and will have complete control over how the money raised is spent.

For ease the charge would be paid along side the business rates , and throughout the town could generate £150,000.

A Vision Buxton spokesman said: “New Christmas lights, better town-centre signage and staging events to boost the towns economy during low season - these are some of the things that towns such as Mansfield, Blackburn and Bath are able to do, now they are part of a BIDs.

“We want to know if Buxton businesses are willing to follow these examples and improve our town?”

The feasibility study is expected to cost upwards of £10,000 and Vision Buxton is now fundraising to cover the cost. Should the plans be successful, the group will approach High Peak Borough Council for a loan of between £40,000 and £45,000 to cover the cost of the business development plan, which would be paid back from the annual proceeds.