YOUR SAY: Buxton businesses react to levy idea towards improvement schemes

Spring Gardens in Buxton.
Spring Gardens in Buxton.

Vision Buxton wants businesses to band together and dig deep into their pockets to help boost the town centre all year round.

The organisation is looking at how achievable it would be for businesses to pay a small levy which would cover the cost of things such as Christmas lights and improved signage in a bid to attract more visitors.

Karl Henshall

Karl Henshall

Karl Henshall, from Quantic IT on the Market Place, said: “In theory this is not a bad idea, however it would impact on businesses differently. I couldn’t afford to contribute loads for something I may not benefit from in the long run. If this is going to go ahead it should really be an opt-in scheme rather than a compulsory one.”

Following the completion of a £10,000 feasibility study, Vision Buxton would then devise a business plan to become part of the national network of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

Matt Gissing, owner of Vintage Treats sweet shop on Terrace Road, was interested in the scheme.

He said: “With all the work going into becoming a spa town once again, we don’t want the lack of Christmas decorations to put people off from coming here.

Matt Gissling

Matt Gissling

“I would need to sit down and work out the facts and figures to see what our shop would be putting in if this plan went ahead, but I have no qualms with the idea.”

If the plan went ahead the BID would be independently run and businesses would have complete control over how the money is spent.

Martin Coles-Evans, from Hargreaves Tea Rooms, said: “The last few years I have felt let down by High Peak Borough Council’s efforts for Christmas decorations so the fact Vision Buxton is trying to do something for the town is a good thing, but it is shame it has got to this stage where the council needs the help.”

Darren White, from the Beer District on The Colonnade, said: “This business and the whole town depends on the tourist trade, so anything that could be done to help promote the town sounds good.

Martin Coles-Evans

Martin Coles-Evans

“I like the fact the rate is variable compared to earnings, because I think a flat rate would force smaller businesses out.”

The majority of BIDs charge one per cent of rateable value, and Vision Buxton believes the levy could generate £150,000 from businesses across the town.

Linda Maguire, from Atticus Boo in the Cavendish Arcade, thinks something needs to be done with the poor Christmas decorations.

She said: “A town with this much history, culture and wonderful architecture needs tasteful and elegant decorations, and in recent years they have been embarrassing.

Linda Maguire

Linda Maguire

“Why is there not money already put aside by the council for decorations?

“I’d be happy to make a small payment to make the town look good. In fact, last year Arcade business owners clubbed together to buy trees for the outside of the building.”

Jason Waplington, landlord of the Miltons Head, said: “Thumbs up to those who can afford to pay extra money, but I can’t.

“The council only care about Pavilion Gardens - the coaches drop off there and visitors eat up there too, and then when they walk down The Springs they don’t have any need to come in to the pub.

“Sadly there is no spare money for a project like this.”

Darren White

Darren White

Jason Waplington

Jason Waplington