Morecambe’s bid for BID gains momentum

Vicky Lofthouse, manager of Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce.

Vicky Lofthouse, manager of Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce.

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A plan for businesses to pay for improvements to Morecambe town centre is gathering pace.

Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce wants to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) in Morecambe to start in July 2016.

This could generate £183,00 per year to help boost Morecambe.

BIDS were introduced in the UK in 2002 as a way of generating cash to improve specified business areas of cities and towns.

If the BID goes ahead, businesses would take a vote to be charged an additional amount, usually 1% to 2% of a business’ rateable value, to go into a pot to pay for improvements to a specified area of Morecambe town centre.

Morecambe Town Team, the group of volunteers in charge of a £100,000 pot of Portas Pilot Town money awarded to the resort in 2012, has backed the idea.

Lancaster already has a BID in place generating £228,000 a year to support local projects.

This was voted for by city businesses in November 2012 and has been in place since April 2013.

Projects have included sending out 30,000 copies of a brochure and creating a new website to promote the city, a clean-up of parts of the city centre, and funding festivals and events including Light Up Lancaster, the Lancaster Music Festival and Armed Forces Day.

A steering group would be set up to lead the BID campaign, to include representatives of Morecambe organisations.

Lancaster City Council cabinet will meet for talks on how to move the Morecambe BID forward on September 2. They will be asked to approve a £40,000 feasibility study into the Morecambe BID and to agree for Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce to take the lead on putting together a proposal for the town, as they did on the Lancaster BID.

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