Harrogate town centre shops: What happens next?
Now that the battle of the ballot has been won decisively, if not on a massive turnout, the time for questions about Harrogate Business Improvement District is about to begin.
The team behind what could be the biggest boost for Harrogate town centre for decades are gearing up for action already.
The result released last Friday in Harrogate’s Hotel du Vin by the independent scrutineer at the Electoral Reform Society Services showed 82% of the businesses in the Harrogate BID area who voted came out in favour of the BID progressing.
The turnout was not huge, 40% of the ratable value of all businesses located in the Harrogate BID area filled in their ballot papers, though this compares favourably with many other successful BID votes held elsewhere in the UK.
The impact of Harrogate BID will hit the town centre as early as the new year, especially on businesses themselves who will be paying for it.
Whether businesses took an interest or not, whether they voted or not, whether they happen to be a small independent cafe or a large chain fashion store, they will still be effected by Harrogate BID - not just in the effect in the changes but because the levy to finance the scheme starts in January 2019.
As to who decides what exactly to do with the Â£3 million raised by the levy over the five-year period, the original plan, as outlined in the Business Plan distributed by the Harrogate BID team to all levy-paying businesses, was to have the board which will introduce policies to improve the town centre by election of local businesses in the levy-paying area of Harrogate.
But to ensure there are no delays in getting on with real action, elections will now only take place to establish the board from year two onwards.
Instead, to prevent there being any delays with actually getting on with policies, in year one, the BID Task Group who have been involved with the development of the BID will form the interim board to allow for continuity as much as possible.
Elections will then take place to establish the board from year two onwards.
Any levy payer or voluntary contributor can stand to be elected onto the board during this process.
Moving forward, Harrogate BID has already set dates for meetings up to the launch of the new organisation in late February.
The rules of a successful BID specify it has a mandate for a maximum of five years after which the BID needs to carry out a re-ballot. Harrogate BID is not controlled by the county council or Harrogate Borough Council or the Government.
BID money can only be used to carry out projects/services additional to existing public services carried out by local authorities.
Harrogate BID: Top 5 things it aims to achieve
1. Marketing, promotion and events in Harrogate town centre.Estimated budget over five years:Â£1,300,000
2. Better access and car parkingEstimated budget over five years:Â£260,000
3. Safe, clean and welcoming town centreEstimated budget over five years:Â£750,000
4 New lobbying group to champion Harrogate’s business interests withing and beyond the townEstimated budget over five years:Â£285,000
5. Helping Harrogate’s evening and night-time economyEstimated budget over five years:Â£130,000
Boost for Harrogate town centre