Next month is a pivotal time in the local calendar as businesses vote for or against a business improvement district (BID) for Grantham.
More than 800 businesses in the town will have the chance to vote and ballots will be sent out to them at the beginning of November.
I am extremely confident town will give the BID a ‘Yes’ voteGo Grantham chairman Stuart Pigram
Among those receiving a form in the post will be the Journal – and we will be ticking ‘Yes’. That ‘Yes’ represents investment in our town centre, to support for both start-up and established businesses, to raising the profile of Grantham and to shouting loud and proud about its history and all it has to offer.
Not everyone will feel the same – that is why, with the ballot now looming, the key message from Go Grantham is to make sure you vote, whatever your choice.
Go Grantham chairman Stuart Pigram said: “It is vitally important that businesses take this seriously. This will go to ballot very soon and in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote, then the levy will be compulsory to all members of the BID in the district and so businesses need to make their voices heard.
“Abstaining is the worst thing they can do as a non-vote is not classed as a ‘No’ vote.”
The postal vote will be open to members throughout November and the result will be announced on December 1.
If given the green light, the BID will be paid for through a 1.5 per cent levy on business rates, based on the rateable value of the business – totalling more than £2 million to be spent over five years.
On the Journal’s support for the BID, group editor Mark Edwards said: “Grantham is a town that is growing and we all want to see positive growth. But what sort of town we want and what sort of growth is a key issue for many.
“Grantham BID is an initiative which many support with its aim of helping to secure funding and momentum for developing the town and surrounding area.
“But now the question is whether local businesses want to commit to backing the BID with their own funds. The Journal is supportive of the BID but we respect everyone’s point of view, so businesses that do not want to take part need to say so.
“If it goes ahead we hope the BID will give the town a united and effective voice in determining what sort of growth happens here.”
The BID area covers the town centre and stretches past Manthorpe to the north, Alma Park to the east, Spittlegate Level to the south and the A1 to the west.
Mr Pigram said that if it is given the go-ahead the BID will potentially mean greater growth for the town in many areas – not only will businesses themselves be able to grow, but Grantham will see more people coming into town for shopping and tourism. Businesses would see money-saving opportunities and extra value from marketing and promotion on a regional and national scale, he added.
“I am extremely confident Grantham will vote ‘Yes’ and starting in 2017 we will be able to demonstrate real value to local businesses,” said Mr Pigram.
“It has received very positive feedback and we are continuing to get positive feedback from an ever growing group of businesses.
“This will give Grantham a brand and an identity and the opportunity to compete successfully with other towns in the region. It will mean the opportunity to attract new businesses, householders and visitors to Grantham which has the benefit of more footfall into the town and workforce opportunities for the larger firms.
“This project is the largest of its kind ever launched locally and it’s an exciting time for Grantham. To be able to dovetail it with growth projects launched across town such as the cinema, the southern quadrant and the proposed shopping village, makes it a really exciting time for Grantham and this can only help the development and economic growth of the area.”
Any business that would like to know more about the BID, or has yet to see the final prospectus, can find it online at www.go-grantham.co.uk or request a copy by calling 01476 515314.
n What do you think to the plans for a Grantham business improvement district? What would you change about, or bring to, the town? Do you hope businesses will back the BID? Write to Grantham Journal, St Peter’s House, St Peter’s Hill, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG31 6QB, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org