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Bid to improve Otley business get under way
The first step towards creating a £70,000-a-year Business Improvement District in Otley will be taken next week.
The move follows confirmation Otley Town Partnership has become a Town Team Partner, securing a £10,000 government award and access to advice.
Now Otley Chamber of Trade, in partnership with Otley Town Team, is inviting firms to a meeting to discuss setting up a Business Improvement District (BID) that could rejuvenate the local economy.
Otley Town Partnership director, Steph Lee, said: “Some, although not all, of the £10,000 will be used to apply for BID status.
“This could bring in more than £70,000 per year to be spent in the town, the money being raised by adding 1p in the pound on business rates.”
Adding even a small amount to business rates under current economic conditions could prove controversial, although the town team is hoping to focus on the scheme’s benefits when it meets business representatives at Savage Crangle Solicitors on Monday. Those potential benefits are outlined in a letter circulated to invited firms, which says: “A successful Otley BID will raise in excess of £70,000 per annum.
Greg Mulholland MPWe hope this will generate welcome funding for the town
“A BID is a defined geographical area where businesses are invited to come together and make decisions about improving their trading environment.
“Through consultation, a range of projects and services are agreed and these are then voted upon by all the businesses in the BID area. A BID is independent of council control. The revenue generated will be administered by Otley BID Limited.”
Although Monday’s meeting is for preliminary discussions, Otley’s push for BID status will be launched at a meeting in January.
More than 50 per cent of those voting will have to vote in favour for the scheme to proceed, and the ‘for’ camp will also have to represent more than 50 per cent of the total business rateable value of the BID area.
MP Greg Mulholland said: “A Business Improvement District in Otley is a fantastic idea, which we hope will generate welcome funding for the town.
“It is fantastic that local businesses will decide how revenue generated by the BID is spent, and I would urge businesses in the town to get involved.”