Morpeth BID ballot notice issued

Businesses in Morpeth town centre are set to have their say on whether a Business Improvement District, or BID, should be introduced in the town.  

The proposal to introduce a BID in Morpeth has been put forward by Morpeth BID Steering Group, the BID proposer.

Businesses in the town centre have been issued with a notice of ballot for a forthcoming postal ballot.

A BID is a company established and run by the business community to deliver initiatives that improve the town.  It covers a defined geographic area within which the businesses agree to contribute additional funding to develop projects and services.  There are over 260 BIDs across the country.

National BID guidelines mean that the county council is responsible for operating the Ballot and the authority has appointed specialist electoral services provider UK Engage Ltd as the Independent Scrutineer  responsible for holding the ballot.  The ballot is operated entirely by post.  

For a BID to be successful there must be a majority of those voting in favour, both in terms of numbers voting and also the rateable value represented by those voting.

Those eligible to vote in the ballot are the non-domestic ratepayers listed on the council’s database for each business premise situated in the geographical area of the proposed BID.   Everyone eligible in this way will receive a notice of ballot.

The Morpeth BID Prospectus and Business Plan is available online and will be included in the ballot pack to explain the planned activities and services the BID would deliver to benefit the business community.  These would be in addition to services delivered by statutory agencies such as the county council, the town council and the Police.

Ballot packs will be sent to eligible voters on the 5th March 2018.  The ballot pack includes instructions on how to vote, a ballot paper and a copy of the BID Prospectus and Business Plan.

The Morpeth BID Ballot will close on Monday 9th April 2018 at 5pm, and completed ballot papers must be returned by that time.  The count will take place on Tuesday 10th April with the result declared shortly after.

Cllr Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said:
“This is an important milestone in the development of the Morpeth Business Improvement District, a proposal developed by local businesses and which ultimately is for those who could benefit from the scheme to decide.  

“The County Council is fully supportive of BIDs, where local businesses want them.

“We will be operating the ballot on behalf of the Morpeth BID Steering Group, however I would also like to reiterate that it is for local business to decide on BID proposals.  The County Council has therefore agreed that it will not be voting itself in the Morpeth ballot as an eligible ratepayer.

“I would urge all businesses who receive a notice and subsequent ballot pack to consider the proposals and then participate in the ballot by returning their vote by post.”

Information about the proposal for Morpeth BID, and the forthcoming ballot, can be found at www.morpethbid.co.uk.
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