Around 70 businesspeople and supporters descended on Buxton’s town hall to protest against the possible implementation of the Buxton Business Improvement District (BID) scheme.
A BID is a formal arrangement where businesses decide what improvements they would like to make to their trading environment, put it together in a detailed business plan along with how much it would cost, and what they would be prepared to pay to see it happen.
However, the protestors do not want to be part of the scheme.
One of the rally organisers Mike Hunter, from M-viron on the Market Place, said: “We are not the minority and we want to show the strength of feeling against this terrible idea which could put traders out of business.
“We are speaking out and want our voices to be heard by Vision Buxton which has commissioned the feasibility study to show that from the hoteliers to the garages and the public houses - people in Buxton do not want this BID to continue.” Currently the BID is at the feasibility study stage and company Mosaic has been contracted to conducted the £10,000 survey. If it gets the go-ahead the money will be spent on things which High Peak Borough Council do not budget for such as Christmas lights and public access wifi.
Ian Howarth, landlord from The Queen’s Head Hotel and Chairman of the Buxton Opposition of BID Scheme, said: “If it goes ahead the money will be paid as well as our business rates to the council, but the money will be divided up behind closed doors which is wrong.”
Towns only need a vote of 50.1 per cent in favour of the BID to introduce it. This would then mean all companies with a non-domestic rateable value of £5,000 or above would have to pay a levy for the next five years to the public-private partnerships or potentially face court action.
Sharon Tunnicliffe, from Premier Furnishings, was part of the rally. She said: “Vision Buxton is a self-elected group not a charity, and if they can’t fund themselves they shouldn’t exist and we don’t want to pay for them.”
Adrian Brown, Chairman of Vision Buxton, commented: “All we have done is fired a starting gun. The BID was just an idea and we don’t know yet the results from the feasibility study, which was paid for out of Vision Buxton’s own funds.
“All we want is the town to be ready for its next chapter when The Crescent opens.”