Overwhelming support for continuation of Morecambe Business Improvement District

Businesses in Morecambe have overwhelmingly voted yes to renewing the town’s Business Improvement District (BID).

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 3:51 pm
Businesses in Morecambe have overwhelmingly voted yes to renewing the town’s Business Improvement District (BID).

Turnout in the ballot was 36.95% with 89.65% of businesses by number voting in favour and 80.2% in favour by rateable value. The vote was independently managed by Civica Electoral Services.

The successful ballot means that the Morecambe BID will remain in position until September 2026, with a projected £625,000 of levy payers’ money being used to attract shoppers and visitors to the town centre over the next five years through a series of initiative and improvements.

Morecambe BID was established in 2016 to attract, sustain and boost investment in Morecambe’s town centre for the benefit of its levy payers and all those who live, work, shop and visit there.

In line with the UK’s other BIDs, Morecambe BID must ballot the businesses within the BID area every five years.

Business Improvement Districts are based on the principle of charging an additional levy on all business rate payers in a defined area, following a majority vote by those ratepayers.

Morecambe BID is a private not-for-profit Community Interest Company and operates on a levy paying system where business ratepayers within the BID area and occupying property with a rateable value of £3,500 or more, contribute a 1.5% levy. This money is then spent on projects and initiatives to increase footfall in the BID zone.

The successful ballot will ensure it can continue working on behalf of local shops, bars, restaurants, property owners, landlords, shopping centres and all other BID zone businesses until at least 2026.

Coun Tricia Heath, Lancaster City Council cabinet member with responsibility for economic recovery, said: “It’s fantastic news that Morecambe’s businesses have once again voted ‘yes’ to the Business Improvement District.

“Since its creation the BID has really complemented the work the city council undertakes in the town. We look forward to continuing our work with the business community to ensure Morecambe is a more prosperous place to live, shop, work and visit.”

The BID will now continue to work with the town’s business community to provide services over and above those already provided by the local authorities and set out in their new term business plan.

Tom Powney, chair of the Morecambe BID Management Board, said: “Tthe high percentage voting for BID 2 really reflects the hard work of our Manager and BID members over the last few years.

"We have a small group of local businesspeople who bring real innovation allowing us to think outside the box and punch well above our weight in terms of BID size and budget.

"We have some exciting improvement projects waiting to hit the streets and the hard work continues in building and continuing our partnerships with local Government and Eden for the benefit of Morecambe.”

Morecambe BID manager, John O’Neill, added: “The increased Yes Vote from five years ago really shows how much businesses value the support of Morecambe BID and gives us a strong remit moving forward coming out of the pandemic, especially with Eden on the horizon.

“Since the pandemic restrictions were eased earlier this year we have seen more, good quality, independent businesses open in Morecambe which is a huge vote of confidence in the future of the area.

“From the time when we were first elected Morecambe has really benefited from the opening of the Bay Gateway link road in 2016 which has made us the closest seaside resort to any major motorway in the UK with a point-to-point drive time of approximately ten minutes; the filming of The Bay TV series (currently filming series three), lots of positive publicity and, of course, the coming of the Eden Project North.

“A big commitment in our second term is to sponsor more public realm CCTV to which the police have direct access. The CCTV plans include fixed CCTV on both ends of Queen Street, and more cameras down the promenade, and New Town Square.

"Morecambe BID will also be an integral partner in plans to re-envisage the Morecambe illuminations for the 21st Century, as well as introducing more innovative improvements in the BID zone.”