Town council suspends BID

PUBLISHED: 07:36 13 December 2011

Archant

The controversial Exmouth Business Improvement District (BID) scheme has been put on hold, following opposition from businesses.

The scheme, which would see a levy placed on town centre businesses to fund projects supporting trade, was initially given the go ahead by the town council in October.

The plan was for a BID company to be set up and a chief executive appointed, before a ballot of businesses on whether the scheme should go ahead.

However, the weeks following the announcement saw a backlash from traders – with petitions against the BID from Albion Street, Exeter Road and the Strand, and reported concern from other areas of the town centre.

Now, following a motion brought forward by Conservative councillors – who voted in favour of the BID in October – the scheme is to be paused, pending further consultation.

Councillor Lynne Elson said: “Since the decision was made [to proceed with the BID] there’s been a lot of discussion within the town.

“The traders I’ve spoken to have said that, as they were not fully consulted at the time, they were not clear exactly what the BID was about. In view of that, we feel it would be inappropriate to go forward, and there should be pause for further consultation and debate before we take steps to put forward a chief executive and BID company.”

The move to pause the BID process was approved following a failed motion by Liberal Democrat councillors to abandon the scheme entirely.

Councillor Steve Wragg said: “I’m a bit confused as to what bit of ‘no’ the Conservatives didn’t understand at the meeting in October.

“Why prolong the agony and stress over Christmas when the traders clearly don’t want it?”

Following the council’s decision, the BID will now be considered at a chairman’s group meeting on December 15, and will be on the agenda for the next full council meeting in January, when options will include an extended consultation on the BID, or possibly reviving the former post of town manager.

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