Levy payers views invited on future of Hexham BID

Businesses in Hexham are being invited to have their say on the future of the the Hexham Business Improvement District, or BID.

Northumberland County Council is this week writing to everyone liable to pay a levy to the BID - providing them with the opportunity to express their views.

This step by the council follows the resignation of BID board members, which took effect earlier this month.  The company had proposed terminating the BID arrangements but without a Board it is not currently able to operate effectively.   

National BID regulations indicate that a consultation should take place with all levy payers prior to any major change, a process that was not conducted by the BID Company before the board resigned.  

The county council has therefore agreed that it will run the consultation with levy payers - to help resolve the future of the BID.  

The council has stressed however that it will not be taking over the Business Improvement District, which can only operate with the support and involvement of local businesses.

Cllr Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Northumberland County Council said:  “I am pleased that we have now got the consultation in place and businesses can have their say on the future of the BID.  

“The decision will lie with the business community, with the council’s role at this stage ensuring that statutory requirements are met regarding the future of the BID.

“We want to help to resolve the future of the BID arrangements in an open manner by consulting all levy payers and are committed to ensuring the consultation about its future is undertaken properly and in good time.  
“Whatever the future holds we must not lose sight of the need for the business and civic community to work together positively to ensure Hexham is successful.”

The consultation will ask levy payers for their views on whether they wish to:
  • Retain the existing BID, but make some changes;
  • Retain the existing BID but have an alteration ballot to make more significant changes; or
  • Terminate the BID.

Respondents will be given an opportunity to explain why they prefer their chosen option and also to provide their views on how Hexham could be improved in the future, whether or not a BID exists.

The consultation is open to businesses subject to the levy from now until 14th March 2018, and can be completed online confidentially - with instructions on how to do this provided within the correspondence.

Levy payers can find out more here www.northumberland.gov.uk/HexhamBID

All levy payers have also been invited to attend a public meeting on Monday 26 March at 5pm at the Beaumont Hotel, Beaumont Street, Hexham.

At the meeting the county council will provide feedback on responses to the consultation and allow businesses to express their views and discuss the way forward.  

The council is also writing to existing members of the BID Company to tell them about the consultation and make them aware of the steps that are needed in respect of the company’s governance and operation.  

In order to move forward with either continuation, changes, or termination of the BID, a company board will need to be in place, and this will be explained to members in the letter.
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