Wellingborough council pulls support for town's Business Improvement District

Wellingborough Business Improvement District says it is still confident it will get a mandate to continue despite the borough council pulling its support in ‘a highly unusual’ move.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 10:57 am
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 11:01 am
Wellingborough BID has been running since 2011.

Wellingborough Council says it will not be backing another five years for the BID because the regeneration body ‘did not demonstrate any new ideas for businesses’ or ‘provide any sense of direction’.

The BID is currently balloting all of its 319 members on whether they want it to keep running for another five years.

On Monday night (March 18) the council’s development committee decided that it would vote against the bid on behalf of its 18 town centre properties.

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The two parties publicly disagreed last year about the running and location of popular summer event the beach.

But despite losing the faith of the council the BID, which has been running since 2011, thinks it will get the support of the majority of the other businesses. It raises its funds by charging businesses a percentage of their rateable value and then these funds are spent on projects to bring in visitors and offer support to businesses.

Executive director of the BID John Cable said the organisation brings in an extra 50,000 visitors a year to the town.

He said: “We are disappointed to hear about the council’s position on the future of an organisation dedicated to fighting for the survival and prosperity of our great town centre.

“We have the most visited website in Wellingborough and have also successfully launched a loyalty app to encourage more people to shop local. Additionally, more than 100 town centre businesses benefit from an average £400 a year saving through the BID’s recycling scheme.

“There are 315 BIDs in England and it is highly unusual for a local authority not to support a BID but sadly this is the case with Wellingborough Council. Our primary role is to represent the interests of business in the town centre and in doing that we appreciate everyone is not always going to agree with us and we will encounter challenges. We seem to be paying the price here for being bold and doing our job. However, we have strong support among our business community and are still confident of achieving a ‘yes’ vote, fully committed to the future prosperity of Wellingborough and are always keen to work with stakeholders from across the town.”

The council is developing its own town centre strategy and says it will work with key partners to revive the town centre partnership and use its own officers to promote the town centre.

Chairman of the development committee Cllr John-Paul Carr said: “The BID’s proposal for the next five years did not provide any sense of direction to address the national concerns facing our town centre high streets.

“The council will work with key partners to deliver a new town centre vision.”

The ballot ends on March 28.