How dare she?

It is rare I feel the need to write a letter of concern, but Lucy Ball’s comments regarding the BID (Business Improvement District) in the Exmouth Journal have driven me to do so.

My husband runs a small business within the town and regularly contributes to many community-based projects locally.

I take the opposite view of Lucy Ball when she branded a section of the local businesses “freeloaders”. This comment seemed to be, in the main, regarding Christmas lights.

I can recall only one instance in four years of my husband being approached via a form for a contribution to the lights - we could not afford it then, the business was a month old and money was tight.

Lucy also extols the town-folks’ freeloading virtues within her BID feasibility study, when she states “the value of a BID is as a tool to ensure equality and to remove the element of freeloading that has prevailed for so long”.

Essentially, she was calling Albion Street traders freeloaders for opting out. How dare she?

While I can see there are some potential benefits to the BID proposal penned by Lucy Ball, I can also see it is full of holes and garnered from woolly ideals.

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The plan and subsequent communications are full of inconsistencies.

In the Journal, she insisted that not one penny collected from the BID would be spent on the town manager’s wages or set up costs. She then goes on to say that “the costs for set-up... including the salary of the town manager, will be met from the Tesco (Section 106 money).... and the town council.”

Lucy mentions, on page nine of her feasibility study: “It is worth noting that BIDs operate independently from councils, so project costs will need to include not only project costs, but also the costs for implementation, eg employment of staff or use of contracted agencies. There will be considerable pressure from those paying the levy to see tangible difference; therefore, any levy raised should be sufficient to ‘make a difference’.”

She needs to clarify the situation to the public.

Another incongruity would be the use of the Tesco Section 106 (public) money. While Lucy states in the Journal “this would be used to help fund the set-up of the project”, Councillor Andrew Moulding, deputy leader of EDDC, said, in the same edition, “we believe in letting the residents decide how their Section 106 money is spent.” When were the public approached about spending this money for the set up of a BID?

The substantial amount of money from Tesco could be far better spent within the community than gambled in a venture such as the potential no vote to the BID.

Claire Close

Albion Street, Exmouth.