Clevedon’s future put to vote as BID ballot gets set to launch
PUBLISHED: 08:29 19 March 2018
Clevedon’s Business Improvement District (BID) steering group has launched its business plan ahead of a ballot which will begin next week.
The document outlines the BID team’s plan for Clevedon’s economic development from 2018-2023 which it believes will raise a total of £500,000 to spend on the town’s retail and leisure sectors.
BID co-chairman Victoria Saunders said: “The BID is essential to allow us as local business people to work together in a more comprehensive way to improve the town and start offering the experience that shopping in a place like Clevedon is all about.
“We can, with the BID, work towards creating a better visitor experience so people come more often and stay longer.
“Also, by creating a stronger community feel with events and family co-ordinated activities we can get the residents of Clevedon interacting with its beautiful spaces and the businesses nestled among them.”
One of the key aims of the BID is to reduce the number of empty retail units.
The struggles of both major national retailers and small independent businesses have been drawn into sharp focus with New Look announcing its Clevedon store could be one of 60 across the country to close its doors.
This followed the closure of Lb to Lb Family Butchers in Station Road, which was blamed on a lack of footfall.
BID co-chairman John Fox, who also heads the Triangle Traders group, believes the benefits of the project ‘far outweigh’ the levy on businesses and will help more stores thrive.
He added: “We firmly believe the benefits of the BID greatly outweigh this cost as evidenced by indicators in other established BIDs, such as Bedminster which saw empty shops in the area reduce by more than a third and a more vibrant and vital neighbourhood emerge.
“We have to find an efficient way for us all to work together to improve the marketing and promotion of the town.
“We have a very good story to tell, we just need to shout a bit louder.”
Each business within the BID area – which covers areas including the town centre and Hill and Sea Independent Traders zone – with a rateable value of at least £5,000 would pay a two per cent levy – meaning each is likely to spend around £200 each year.
This would provide the BID with an annual income of around £100,000 which it will use to improve Clevedon’s marketing, increase connectivity between key parts of the town and make visual improvements to the area.
The BID has reached this stage after receiving grants from both North Somerset Council and Clevedon Town Council, but needs more than 50 per cent of the vote.
The ballot will start on March 21 and eligible businesses must return their forms saying yes or no to the BID by April 19.
However if the BID is approved, any businesses which voted no will still need to pay the levy.
Paul Anslow, chairman of Clevedon Chamber of Commerce and BID member, said: “The BID only goes ahead if businesses support in the postal ballot.
“In preparation we are encouraging businesses to thoroughly examine the business plan and get in touch with any of us on the BID steering group with any questions.
“In my view this is a unique opportunity for the town to realise its true potential.”
As well as the BID, business owners in Clevedon have been very proactive in trying to boost trade in the town.
Last year they launched a £1 loyalty card giving shoppers a range of regularly updated discounts and offers at stores around the town.