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Andover businesses say yes to BID

The Andover Business Improvement District (BID) has been given the green light by businesses following a month-long ballot which closed on Thursday 8 November.

51.1percent voted in favour of the BID and plans will now be put in motion to set up a BID company, which will comprise a variety of local business representatives. They will decide, in consultation with other local businesses, how the money collected from the BID levy will be spent to help promote the town centre.

Businesses located in the defined BID area with a rateable value of £10,000 and above will pay the levy. The levy is set at two percent of the rateable value. Money from the BID levy is ring-fenced for use in the BID area.

Andover BID will come into force in April 2019 and will run for a period of five years until 2024. At that point, businesses will undertake a second ballot to determine whether to continue the BID for a further five-year term.

Following the announcement that Andover BID will go ahead, the council has reiterated that it has no intention of withdrawing services that it currently delivers in the town centre. These range from street cleaning, to grounds maintenance, to emptying litter bins. This will ensure that the BID will be able to spend its money on new projects.

Economic development and tourism portfolio holder, Councillor David Drew, said: "I am obviously pleased with the outcome. This project has been driven by businesses for the benefit of businesses and I am sure that the new BID will help to make a significant difference to the town centre. Businesses will now have dedicated resources to use in the way they consider most effective. This is about businesses taking control and they are surely the ones best placed to do so.

"The council will also of course continue to support increased footfall and there are some incredibly exciting projects on the horizon. These include the Cultural Quarter at the old Magistrates’ Court site, the new Riverside Park at Town Mills and a redevelopment of the Chantry Centre.

“With the chancellor announcing in his budget last week that there would be a new rates relief, the future remains increasingly positive for town centre businesses.

“Can I also take this opportunity to thank those individuals and businesses who so willingly gave up their time to lead the BID process; it hasn't been without its challenges. And in due course I look forward to working closely with the BID team and all town centre businesses, hearing about their new proposals for Andover."

Lisa Armstrong, chair of the Andover BID steering group and local business owner, said: “I am delighted that the town centre businesses have voted positively for the Andover BID. This positivity is fantastic and this will be the energy we will use to create the new business and appoint directors on to the board. 

“The steering group have worked tirelessly in some fractious situations and the majority vote confirms that the local business owners in Andover truly believe that the levy will assist each and every one of our local entrepreneurs in seeing growth in their organisations. Our commitment to resourcing a BID Manager will be our next focus and we look forward to seeing the next stages of the process unfold.”

BIDs give greater power to businesses to decide what they want in their area. They offer a number of benefits including increasing footfall and improving marketing and promotion of the area. There are currently more than 300 BIDs in place across the UK.